It has been almost three weeks since the devastating tropical storm Haiyan, or Yolanda as it is locally known, swept across the Philippines leaving in its wake death, destruction and displacement.
Immediately after the disaster, Irish Aid activated its emergency response mechanisms which allowed the Irish Government to swiftly release funds to our partner organisations who had established a presence in the affected areas. In addition, Irish Aid made use of its emergency relief stock which is strategically located in depots around the world allowing for rapid distribution.
Ireland is one of the major international donors to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the International Federation of the Red Cross’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), which both allow swift response in times of sudden onset crises.
With the resources in place to address the most immediate life saving interventions for those who have survived the typhoon, it is now time to look at a longer term recovery plan.
Yesterday evening, experts from Irish Aid and the Defence Forces arrived to assess the requirements for medium term assistance. This expert mission will examine the ways in which Ireland can ensure that our support allows families and communities to rebuild their lives in a more resilient way, helping them to better prepare for and withstand the impacts of any future natural disasters.The team will develop recommendations for areas where continued support from Ireland would be valuable, on the basis of discussions and feedback from the Filipino Government, UN agencies and our partner NGOs, as well as visits to Irish-funded relief programmes in the areas worst affected by the Typhoon.
In line with our broader policy, Irish Aid pays particular attention to the protection of vulnerable groups such as children, elderly people, people with disabilities, women and female headed households.