Monday, November 25, 2013

Philippines Typhoon Update

My colleague Danny Pins was in the Philippines this week and reported back to several of us this afternoon on what he’s seen and done. We’ll send out more information shortly, but in the meantime here are a few important points he made:

(1) Paradoxically, notwithstanding the massive property damage and huge dislocation, the loss of life was much lower than expected. This was partly due to the (unfortunate) experience that the islands have with typhoons (some twenty a year), and a well-organized response that allowed many to get to shelter and safety fast.

      (2) The resilience of the civilian population is remarkable. The main emphasis of the next phase of reconstruction is going to be “debriefing” and rehabilitation – to get as many children as possible into school and as many adults as possible back to work

       (3) The geography of the country is really important – it’s an archipelago of over 7000 islands and a population of almost 100 million scattered around those islands. What that means is that JDC didn’t go straight to Tacloban, like many other NGOs – we’re focusing on other less-visited areas.  But areas that were equally-severely damaged, nonetheless.

The aim right now is coordination. We've spent approximately 30% of the funds with partners on the ground and coordinating with the local Jewish community. Now we’re going to move to the next phase and look at longer-term strategies to help the population. More on this to come.

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