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Dec2MonSalvation Army provides essentials in wake of typhoon disaster. Updated as of December 2. December 2, 2013
As of December 2:
- Filed Under:
- International News
The Salvation Army's International Emergency Services Officer, Damaris Frick, is entering her third week on the ground in The Philippines. In her most recent report, she confirms that The Salvation Army is making significant progress in responding to the extraordinary and desperate need of Filipino people. The Salvation Army continues to provide lifesaving support to those needing assistance and, as of Saturday, have distributed the equivalent of 273,315 meals. Roughly calculated, one "family pack" feeds five people for seven days, for three meals a day.
Local Salvation Army officials have been quick to employ community members to assist with cooking, cleaning and shopping. This partnership is valued and important, as the Philippines population is keen to assist where possible in their own recovery effort.
The medical team continues to work well and has been well received. Given the large number of team members, they are considering visiting different barangays (districts) in Dulag in addition to the work they are doing in Tacloban. On Saturday 30 November the team opened an afternoon clinic in Nula Tula and saw 103 people who required medical attention. Also, at the request of the Philippine Ministry of Health, the medical teams will commence a vaccination programme immediately.
The Salvation Army team has also conducted an aerial survey of one of the more remote islands. Damaris reports: "We joined forces with WFP and UNHAS to undertake a small assessment flight to see one of the islands that reportedly hasn't received any assistance. Unfortunately the helicopter couldn't land anywhere on the island but the observation showed that most houses on this island seemed to be intact. The trees and electricity poles were still standing and there were boats out in the sea. We also had a good overview of Tacloban and Dulag, and the devastation there was significant and obvious."
Speaking of The Salvation Army's partnerships with other NGOs in the region, she continued: "We are in ongoing conversation with WFP, the food cluster and the DSWD with regards to our future distributions. The overall feeling is that it would be best for the coming four weeks to have a few regular locations where The Salvation Army will provide food on a weekly basis and this falls in line with the government's strategy."
The value of partnership and working together is evident with the experience and valued training of the International Emergency Services team continuing to play a vital role in keeping The Salvation Army at the forefront of relief operations.
Finally, conversations with communities, cluster members and government officials have proved beneficial as The Salvation Army is already reviewing recovery projects such as roofing and provision of vegetable seeds. This is the first step in what will be a long-term operation for The Salvation Army and partner agencies as together they work to help rebuilt the islands.
As of November 29:
International Emergency Services field operator Damaris Frick reports from The Philippines that The Salvation Army's typhoon response is "going well," and that relief teams are overseeing a variety of activities.
In her latest update to International Headquarters, Damaris says: "I joined the medical team yesterday morning to see them in action. Despite being a small team it was well organised and running smoothly. In the morning I was with them they saw 59 patients."
As has been previously reported, the medical team – consisting of Salvation Army personnel and representatives from the Christian Medical and Dental Association of the United States (CMDA) – is working in an area called Dulag. The team is rotating between six barangays (the Filipino word for a small administrative district) but has been asked by the mayor's office in Dulag to spread their work to other parts of the area.
Plans are in place to extend the medical service to Nula Tula, and an expected increase in personnel will allow the team to split and cover two places simultaneously.
The Salvation Army has been asked by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to assess the situation at some of the smaller evacuation sites on Leyte Island. The bigger ones seem to receive regular food assistance but it appears that the smaller ones have been overlooked.
In the meantime, food pack distribution continues in various parts of Tacloban, with 131 families assisted yesterday and a further 375 scheduled to be helped at two locations today.
Damaris concludes: "We have received information that some of the smaller islands have not received any assistance. We have therefore requested transportation through the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services to do an initial needs assessment and, if necessary, plan a distribution."
Away from Leyte, assistance continues to be given to communities in Cebu, Panay Island and other places that suffered typhoon damage.
As of November 27:
The Salvation Army's typhoon response in The Philippines continues to provide assistance to an increasing number of people. The relief effort in Tacloban is growing now that two truckloads of emergency supplies have arrived – with a third expected later today – but assessments from other affected areas will almost certainly lead to the recovery efforts spreading well beyond Leyte Island.
So far, almost 1,000 family packs containing food, water and other essentials have been distributed to communities in and around Tacloban, including a total of 50 packs which were given to a girls' home and a boys' home. A further 610 packs will be passed on to registered family groups in the Lower Nula Tula area today, with 440 ready to be distributed in two locations in Samar tomorrow.
The distributions will be made easier with the arrival of a small truck which the international shipping and logistics company UPS has generously made available until Christmas.
The medical team, consisting of Salvation Army personnel and team members from the Christian Medical and Dental Association of the United States (CMDA), has now identified an area for ongoing work to 4,300 families in an area called Dulag. The team will visit a different "barangay" (the Filipino word for a small administrative district) each day and repeat the schedule next week. International Emergency Services field officer Damaris Frick says she plans to accompany the team tomorrow to assess further needs in the area.
Even in its first few days of collaboration, with the focus mainly on assessment, the medical team has already assisted 140 people.
The ministry to people waiting to evacuate Tacloban from the airport has now stopped because the military is no longer offering free transport for people wanting to leave, but more than 10,000 people have been given snacks, water and emotional support at the airport in a project that began only a few days after the typhoon struck.
Further assessments are taking place in Antique – on the island of Panay, where many homes were destroyed by the typhoon – and around the city of Cebu, where local Salvationists are being assisted by experienced International Emergency Services representatives Major Drew Ruthven, from Australia, and Matthew Beatty, from the United States.
As of November 22:
Territorial leaders of The Salvation Army in The Philippines, Colonels Wayne and Robyn Maxwell, are in Tacloban to support Salvation Army officers and other personnel who have been working tirelessly in the ongoing relief operations. Accompanied by Commissioner Gillian Downer, the London-based International Secretary for The Salvation Army's South Pacific and East Asia Zone, the leaders also intend to bring a message of hope and God's love to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.
Stories of hope punctuate the scenes of destruction and loss, with Colonel Wayne Maxwell admitting that the devastation caused by the storm and tidal surge is "worse than reported by the media." Latest estimates are that four million homes are uninhabitable. But this week, Salvation Army workers met Jostan and his family, whose home was completely destroyed in the terrifying storm. Remarkably, the whole family survived, including Jostan's two-week-old sister who was born just before the typhoon made landfall.
"There have been many, many deaths in our area," Jostan's uncle told emergency worker Damaris Frick. "Fortunately, our family survived – but we have lost everything," he continued – his eyes betraying the horrors of what they had witnessed in the last fortnight. "We are now going to stay with other family members in Manila."
Jostan and family may have a long wait. Although military evacuations have resumed from Tacloban Airport, the queues are still long. The Salvation Army continues to provide a supply of clean water and snacks to between 600 and 1,000 people every day.
Elsewhere in Tacloban, The Salvation Army is distributing emergency supplies to hundreds of families. The packs contain staples such as 10 kg sacks of rice, cans of sardines and corned beef and packets of noodles. A further 40 tons of food will be arriving in the next few days. Aid is also being distributed in Cebu and Manila, where evacuees are now arriving regularly.
The Salvation Army is coordinating with the local government of Pasay in Manila, where a large tent city has been set up to shelter evacuees who have no friends or family in the capital city. Extended ministry among the tent-dwellers is expected to happen for several months.
Experienced emergency services workers Major Drew Ruthven (Australia) and Matthew Beatty (USA) have been despatched to Manila to provide reinforcement and expertise in The Salvation Army's relief operations.
As of November 20:
The Salvation Army in The Philippines is increasing its collaboration with other agencies to provide help to the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan who need the most urgent assistance. Much of the 54 tons of food, water and medical supplies which have been gathered in Manila is still waiting to be transported to Tacloban for distribution across the Island of Leyte, but the first truckload of supplies – enough for 550 families – is expected today.
A "cluster coordination system" has been set up to ensure that all agencies are working together, and The Salvation Army is working within the system, attending "cluster" meetings that address logistics, health, food, shelter, non-food items (NFI) and protection.
The program of support to people evacuating from Tacloban Airport is continuing to assist up to 1,000 people every day. At cluster meetings the potential for human trafficking was highlighted as an immediate concern, so a registration facility has been set up in a tent at the airport, with The Salvation Army given a tent next to this at which it will provide refreshments and sandwiches.
Thanks to arrangements made through a partnership with The Salvation Army USA, the Chief Executive Officer of the Christian Medical and Dental Association of the USA (CMDA), Dr David Stevens, arrives in Manila on Friday with a team of four colleagues. By start of next week they hope to join forces with Salvation Army medical staff on Leyte.
The emergency response team in Tacloban is currently identifying the areas for its first big distribution. Consideration is also being given to an additional food project for the areas outside of Tacloban that haven't received support. With transport continuing to be a major issue, enquiries are being made in Cebu to purchase food and other items, along with a truck to transport the supplies to Leyte. A warehouse owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be used for storage – a vital element in the process.
For the people who remain on Leyte, shelter is a great concern. There is currently nowhere to obtain tarpaulins which can be used to waterproof damaged houses, so The Salvation Army is looking at ways to bring in roofing sheets that could provide a simple, longer-term solution.
A video clip containing information about The Salvation Army's typhoon response, produced by International Headquarters employee Gary Rose, has been published on YouTube. Go to sar.my/haiyanvideo to view the video, then share the link with colleagues and friends. Also, follow and share the latest news and photos via Twitter (@TSA_IHQ), Facebook (sar.my/facebook) and Flickr (sar.my/flickr).
As of November 18:
Salvation Army emergency personnel in the typhoon-hit city of Tacloban, The Philippines, and other devastated areas in the Visayas Islands are seeing signs of hope emerge as relief goods, medicines and other aid starts to reach the people. The Salvation Army is continuing to provide essentials, and is working in conjunction with local authorities and other agencies.
While The Salvation Army's Social Services Department coordinates the preparation and transport of relief goods, Major Reynaldo Magat (Central Philippines Division) and Damaris Frick (International Emergency Services) are leading a team of officers and Salvationists in Tacloban. They are collaborating with other agencies and preparing for the actual distribution of goods. One of the main priorities is to find storage facilities, and viable options are being explored. Personnel from The Salvation Army's Visayas Islands Division are spearheading relief operations in other affected areas.
The Salvation Army's response goes beyond the provision of emergency supplies. In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan many people still need medical assistance. The medical services in the affected areas are unable to cope and have requested external support. The Salvation Army has been asked by the authorities to work in the Baybay area in partnership with the District Hospital.
The Salvation Army in The Philippines has medical personnel, and they will work with medical staff from the Christian Medical and Dental Association of the USA (CMDA), whose participation has been arranged through a partnership with The Salvation Army USA. The Chief Executive Officer of CMDA, Dr David Stevens, will fly to The Philippines this week to lead the first team and assess needs.
Together, medical personnel from The Salvation Army and CMDA will identify which medical supplies and equipment are required, looking to purchase as much as possible in The Philippines. The project will also look to bring in other medical personnel – where possible, from The Philippines – and a vehicle will be purchased to assist with transport of staff and all necessary supplies to Baybay and other areas.
The transportation of large amounts of relief supplies continues to cause concern. The Salvation Army is still waiting for cargo space to fly 54 tons of food, water and medical supplies from Manila. Other possible transport methods are still being explored, and John Graham, a trustee of the Propeller Club of Manila, has offered one of its vessels to transport goods and equipment to Tacloban on November 29. The Propeller Club of Manila is a maritime institution that also trains young Filipinos for seafaring jobs.
Until the supplies arrive, the Salvation Army team in Tacloban continues to find other avenues of service, most recently by providing meals and counselling to people waiting to evacuate Tacloban by air or sea. Damaris reports: "The number of people waiting for evacuation is slowly decreasing," but she believes that this will be a useful ministry for at least a few more days.
"'We're only giving out water and sandwiches – it's very simple," she adds, but with the understanding that this basic act is a vital help to desperate people. She reveals that since the Salvation Army team began their ministry at the airport they discovered that, in the days immediately after the disaster, two people died at the airport because of the lack of food and drink.
Away from Tacloban a response is also under way to support evacuees as they arrive at the airport in Cebu and at Villamor Airbase in Manila, where The Salvation Army was one of a number of organizations that greeted thousands of people who had survived the typhoon. The demonstration of love and concern was overwhelming. After feeding the survivors, they were led to first aid or counselling areas.
Donations to support The Salvation Army's response in The Philippines can be made through local Salvation Army offices or online at www.SalvationArmy.ca/philippines.
As of November 15:
With the mass transport of relief supplies to the typhoon-devastated city of Tacloban still proving very difficult, The Salvation Army in The Philippines is working on alternative methods to get help to the thousands of people who are in desperate need.
Teams of Salvation Army volunteers are providing life-saving items such as bottled water, biscuits, bananas and bread for people who have been evacuated to Cebu and Manila from Tacloban. The initial outlay will provide food and water packages for 3,500 people.
The distribution of goods is only part of the response. The teams will focus on talking to and comforting the people as needed. Even in these days where rapid action is required, The Salvation Army seeks to go beyond providing for people's physical needs – the spiritual, caring element is a vital part of helping distressed and traumatized people.
This is only an initial response ahead of the arrival of 54 tons of food, medical supplies and other essentials that await transport to Tacloban from Manila, but it will meet a pressing need that has been identified by the Salvation Army response team in Tacloban in coordination with local authorities.
In Manila, The Salvation Army is working with the local authorities and will act as a reception partner for people evacuated from Tacloban, providing spiritual and practical care as appropriate.
International Emergency Services team leader Damaris Frick is on her way to Cebu before heading to Tacloban. She participated in a Logistic Officers Meeting chaired by World Food Programme personnel, as The Salvation Army seeks to ensure that any response is carried out in full coordination with other agencies.
Damaris reports: "There are major logistical challenges on the ground preventing goods from being distributed." With this being the case, The Salvation Army is using its extensive local connections to organize road transport for food, water and other essentials. Damaris says that there is growing concern for the health and well-being of Salvation Army responders, with reports coming in that teams on the ground in the most affected areas "are starting to run out of food and water – and this is gravely concerning."
Away from Leyte and Tacloban, The Salvation Army is at work in many other parts of The Philippines which are struggling to recover from Typhoon Haiyan. The government reports, for instance, that 196,361 families on the island of Panay were affected by the typhoon. Major Ronaldo Banlasan (corps officer in La Paz) visited typhoon-hit communities including Conception, Lemery and Banate in Iloilo Province on the island and has organized a team to go back to the worst-hit families with food packages.
The Salvation Army's International Headquarters continues to receive funds from across the world to be used in the short- and longer-term responses in The Philippines, for which The Salvation Army in The Philippines is hugely grateful.
As of November 14:
The Salvation Army in The Philippines is spreading its assistance to communities that were hit by Typhoon Haiyan but have not received the same media coverage as the devastated city of Tacloban and Leyte Island.
In Antique Province, for instance, many towns and villages were battered by the typhoon. Salvation Army teams have conducted assessments in the communities of Tibiao, Barbasa and Bugasong, where most homes were damaged or destroyed. An initial project has been agreed to provide food to 4,710 families in Antique Province, where local corps (Salvation Army churches) are also working with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Because of the logistical difficulties in getting supplies to Tacloban, it is likely that the project in Antique will be the first large-scale response undertaken by The Salvation Army after Typhoon Haiyan. Assessments are also taking place in other affected areas, including Iloilo, Cebu, Palawan and Mindoro.
Damaris Frick, from International Emergency Services, has seen many disaster responses over the past few years. She is impressed with what The Salvation Army in The Philippines is doing. "They are very committed and organized," she says.
The first Salvation Army team has now reached Tacloban, where it has linked up with the local corps. For now, the team will stay in the corps hall, sleeping on the floor. A consignment of 54 tons of food, water, medical supplies and other essentials is waiting to be taken to the city for distribution. The good news is that Tacloban Airport has now reopened, although the number of flights is constrained by the damaged runway and the lack of lights. Damaris admits: "The waiting list to get the food transported by air is really long."
Damaris is making her way from Manila to Cebu, accompanied by Captain Melita Elizabeth Lardizabal, who is originally from the Tacloban area. From Cebu they will travel to Tacloban and link up with the Salvationists already there.
The logistical problems will not be over once The Salvation Army manages to get its supplies to Tacloban, says Damaris. The team members have to source storage (there are no functioning warehouses) and ongoing transport. At the moment there are very few trucks available.
As of November 13:
The Salvation Army in The Philippines is ready to assist the many thousands of people affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Territorial Commander Colonel Wayne Maxwell told International Headquarters representatives that Salvation Army teams are currently preparing to support the relief effort in the worst-hit areas and are addressing the logistics challenges of their travel and of the transportation of supplies.
Seven tons of food – rice and canned goods – have already been prepared for distribution in 18-kilogram packages. Transportation is a huge challenge but The Salvation Army is in a priority queue for government approval for its goods to be transported to the region in and around the city of Tacloban. Salvation Army staff are already on their way to take part in the relief effort. The region's geography is complicating any response, with the worst-hit area being made up of several islands.
On Leyte, the island that bore the brunt of the typhoon, there is no power and only very poor, intermittent cell phone capability, meaning that it is very difficult to get a clear picture of what is happening on the ground. Colonel Maxwell did say, however, that contact has been made with Salvation Army officers in the region, and that all are safe.
The little contact that has been made has highlighted the scarcity of food and drinking water – and these are areas of ongoing concern. Colonel Maxwell explains: "Salvation Army corps in the areas most affected – such as Leyte and the Visayas Islands – have fully distributed all available food from their welfare supplies and are keenly awaiting the arrival of food, water and medicine."
In some areas that have suffered damage but not received media coverage, Salvation Army personnel are already helping people who have lost homes and possessions.
Damaris Frick, from International Emergency Services, has arrived from London and will be working in partnership with territorial headquarters staff to assess the needs. Tomorrow morning she will participate in an executive meeting with Salvation Army leaders. The Philippines Territory has an excellent record in disaster response but this event is on an unprecedented scale.
It is expected that Damaris will soon send specific requests for help based on the assessment of the situation, looking in particular at the needs that The Salvation Army can meet beyond the initial reaction that is already under way.
Colonel Maxwell says that mobile communication is a major issue – and unlikely to get better soon. The colonel says there is an urgent need for satellite phones that can be used by teams across the region – helping in the assessment of the situation and also improving the security of Salvation Army disaster relief personnel. International Headquarters is arranging for two phones to be bought and couriered to The Philippines immediately, but this will only deal with the most urgent need. The territory is also looking to source generators that can be taken to the worst-hit areas, with reports forecasting that power in some locations may not be restored for a year.
The colonel says he and the Salvationists of The Philippines are hugely grateful for the strong support they have received from around the world. Many Salvation Army territories are raising funds and offering assistance.
Donations to support The Salvation Army's response in The Philippines can be made through local Salvation Army offices or online at www.SalvationArmy.ca/philippines.