Haiyan: An on-going tragedy

In our December 2013 issue, we reported on the devastation wrought by the strongest typhoon recorded in terms of wind speed to ever hit portions of Southeast Asia. With 14.1 million people affected, and 4.1 million displaced, the Philippines was the worst- affected country.

While current news of this catastrophe may have fallen off the media radar, relief and reconstruction efforts are expected to carry on for years. Philippine President Benigno Aquino said that reconstruction was expected to take at least four years, according to some media reports.

As of early January 2014, The Methodist Church in Singapore has remitted S$326,564.85, the first tranche of donations collected from Methodist churches and donors across Singapore, to World Vision (WV) International to support their appeal for funds for its emergency and relief operations in reaching the victims of Haiyan.

WV held the permit from the Commissioner of Charities to raise funds from the public. Their original targeted number of beneficiaries was 400,000 – as of 12 January, they have exceeded this target by about 155,000. Highly-impacted areas are at the top of their priority list, with the well-being of mothers and children put upfront.

For the next six months, WV will be focusing on recovery and rehabilitation efforts in the affected communities. Some key programmes include the Cash-for-Work scheme, which generates jobs for out-of-work victims who help by cleaning up the debris in disaster-stricken areas, especially around water sources and infrastructure. Skills-based training will also be provided to offer farmers alternative livelihoods. Visit www. worldvision.org.sg for Haiyan updates and information.