Road to recovery

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After-effects of the destruction wrought by Typhoon Haiyan, in the Philippines, continues to be felt throughout the region. Latest reports suggest that, in total, 13.25 million people have been affected, with 4.4 million people currently displaced and hundreds of thousands left homeless and struggling for basics to survive. Lack of safe drinking water and shelter are being touted as the most immediate issues recovery agencies are facing.

The United Nations has requested more than 300 million dollars to fund recovery costs of the first six months. With more than 4,000 confirmed dead, 281,091 homes damaged or destroyed and clean up and recovery costs spiralling into the billions of dollars, disaster recovery efforts are set to require a sustained and coordinated global response.

Aid and relief organisations from around the globe continue to support and respond to recovery efforts occurring on the ground.

The Uniting Church is in close contact with its Philippines partner church, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP). The UCCP is reporting scenes of complete devastation – entire communities damaged, livelihoods destroyed and whole families lost.

“People in the Philippines are familiar with natural disasters but this is on an unprecedented scale,” UnitingWorld national director, Dr Kerry Enright said.

“We are shocked by the extent of the damage and the impact on people and their communities. We need to stand with our partner and the people of the Philippines with prayer and practical support at this time.”

Since launching the Philippines Typhoon appeal, UnitingWorld has received more than $83,000  from individuals, businesses and congregations within the Uniting Church in Australia.

These funds will be forwarded to the ACT Alliance, a coalition of more than 140 churches and affiliated organisations working collectively, to distribute to agencies on the ground directly involved in relief efforts. All funds will be used to provide food and water, tents, generators, essential non-food items, blankets, clothing and hygiene kits.

Rev Andy Tiver, a Uniting Church minister based in Manila, is volunteering with the UCCP.  He is currently co-ordinating relief efforts at the ACT Alliance headquarters in the Philippines.

“It is a privilege to be at the centre of the church response,” Mr Tiver said.

“To see the different churches and church related agencies working together and with so much determination to bring needed relief to the people – much of it going to some of the most badly affected areas, and those places where other organisations have not reached.”

Mr Tiver and others on the ground have stressed that while heartening to see the widespread response to the disaster, the magnitude of the typhoon means long-term support will be required.

“This will be a long process, not only of meeting this immediate need, but of working for the restoration of the people’s homes and livelihoods,” Mr Tiver said.

“How the members of the ACT Alliance work together now in this time of urgent need will hopefully set the tone for the long-term recovery.

“There are still huge needs here, it is true that the relief response confronted huge logistical problems (and to a great extent still does) but at least now – food, water and basic necessities are beginning in increasingly large quantities to get to the people in desperate need.

“The trauma of this event and the cost in terms of what people have lost will take many years for people to recover from.”

To donate to UnitingWorld’s Philippines Emergency Response Appeal, please visit or phone: 1800 998 122

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