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Haiyan Field Report: Dignity and Safety for Survivors

  • January 21, 2014

Brian Hoyer, director of AmeriCares post-emergency programs and a member of our Haiyan response team, worked with our partner the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Panay Island in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan to help meet the immediate needs of survivors. 

“On our first day on the ground, we discovered an important area of need beyond basic survival and acute medical concerns. Because the evacuation centers were predominantly filled with women and children while other family members worked to rebuild some kind of structure where their home once stood,” explained Brian, “every woman we spoke to reported that, especially in the context of communal living, they did not have basic items related to hygiene and privacy.”

The team quickly integrated distribution of dignity kits into the health programming we had launched through the local health system.  We procured, assembled and delivered 100 dignity kits to health centers who had already identified indigent patients and other vulnerable women for distribution. The kits were made up of local materials including:

  • cloth bag
  • sarong for privacy when changing
  • two hand towels
  • hand sanitizer
  • laundry soap
  • small wash basin
  • antibacterial personal soap

Minor injuries related to home reconstruction were another health concern identified early in our response.  “For the majority of the displaced in Capiz Province of Panay Island, families had immediately returned to their property or sent male family members to begin construction of some type of shelter,” said Hoyer. “Personal protective gear was essential to prevent further injuries and resulting infections.  One local health official explained that after the passing of the storm a key concern was an outbreak of minor injuries resulting from the reconstruction. We addressed this preventative measure in our health system based response in the region.”  

AmeriCares assembled 100 safety kits which were delivered to help survivors in hard-hit areas Photo courtesy of Blue Motus

To help prevent these injuries AmeriCares assembled 100 safety kits which were delivered to help survivors in hard-hit areas. Each kit included:

  • work gloves
  • protective eye goggles
  • safety helmets
  • antibacterial soap

Brian continued to work on our long-term response strategy together with our partner, IOM, establishing a recovery project which includes the restoration and expansion of primary health care services in Capiz province. This project has since served as one model for other affected areas, and AmeriCares is now supporting similar projects in other regions of the disaster affected area.

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