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Update on Philippines Disaster Relief

As of January 7th, over 6.000 people have died as a result of Typhoon Haiyan with almost 2,000 people still missing. Yet the latest disaster has touched the lives of so many more…over 4 million people are displaced and 16 million have been affected. Currently there are 101,000 people staying in 381 evacuation centers.

Making a Difference

We previously reported on how HOPE worldwide Philippines immediately set about mobilizing aid once the typhoon struck. HOPE worldwide of Canada also got involved from the beginning with volunteers raising funds in every chapter to support HOPE worldwide Philippines in their efforts. As of December 31st, 2013 emergency and life saving supplies were distributed to 28,545 survivors. Donations received in Canada provided meals, vitamins and paid for the proper storage of emergency supplies.

HOPE worldwide Philippines has made it their goal to assist displaced children and families to access emergency relief; livelihood; shelter; protection and advocacy against exploitation, abuse and trafficking; and psychosocial recovery from the affects of the disaster. In order to attain this goal, they have decided to focus on 6 locations to focus their efforts, with Cebu being the hub.

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Most Vulnerable Groups

As the main focus in the initial relief efforts was shelter, food, water, and health for the general population, the elderly and children remained exposed to the various issues that were not immediately addressed. These age groups require special attention and care as their needs and protection are often neglected. In the Philippines where trafficking and abuse were issues prior to the typhoon, there is a concern that they these vulnerable groups might face an even higher risk living in unprotected huts with limited services and supplies. Special needs children have also not been a priority. In general, 10% of the population has special needs, whether a physical disability or a learning limitation. These groups need to be supported as they suffer even  worse than a regular person in disaster.

Centers of HOPE for Children in Extremely Difficult Circumstances

In December of 2013, HOPE worldwide Philippines established 5 Centers of HOPE in Tacloban, Tolosa, Tanauan, Bohol and Iloilo. These centers serve 10,000 children through creative activities, emergency supplies, essential nutrition, medical aid, advocacy and protection as well as specialized support to those with special needs. Donations given through HOPE worldwide of Canada are being used to support these children in especially difficult circumstances to re-establish their lives by providing the tools they need to begin school again. School will provide protection from harm in vulnerable situations and give them a sense of normalcy. Canadian donations are also funding the case management for orphans and vulnerable children in these centers.

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Contributing to the Work

Anyone wishing to make a donation to support HOPE worldwide Philippines in their goals of assisting over 10,000 children can do so by contacting Kimberlee Potter, Winnipeg Chapter Director (204) 269-5893, kimberlee.potter@hopewwcanada.org.