Narciso Pahayahay, 38, is a fisherman who has already rebuilt a shack for his family in Bislig, Philippines but can’t start earning money again without a boat.
Photo Credit: Anne Wright/Oxfam

Philippine aid moves from rescue to rebuilding


Shelter is becoming a key issue, according to the relief agency. Over one million homes were destroyed and only 10 per cent of emergency shelter needs have been covered. But Oxfam also wants to help Filipinos rebuild permanent homes that are stronger and better able to stand up to storms that it says will only increase in severity.

Farmers have flooded fields covered with debris, and must plant their seeds in the next two weeks or face serious shortages in their harvests. © Courtesy Oxfam

Seeds needed right now

Delivering rice seeds is a big priority since now is the time farmers need to plant. Oxfam is delivering 400 tonnes of rice seed with much difficulty as many of the roads are still impassible. Rice crops need irrigation and farmers need help in rebuilding canals, dams and sluices. Oxfam employs many local people and agencies to help in these and other efforts.

Another priority is helping fishers. Two-thirds of the fishing fleet was destroyed so the agency is helping fishers buy or rebuild boats and acquire rods, nets and other equipment so they can begin fishing again.

Coconuts a “life-source” for many families

Sowing coconut trees is another important goal. 33 million trees were uprooted. Some are being sawn into lumber for rebuilding efforts. But planting is important since so many people made a living selling their milk, meat, cream and husks. It takes seven years before a coconut tree yields fruit and Oxfam is working with Filipinos to try to find strategies to tide them over until new coconut trees have matured.

Oxfam distributes hygiene kits and water kits in Barangay Mancilang, Philippines. © Jire Carreon/Oxfam

“We can’t just…leave”

“We (aid agencies) can’t just get in there, respond to the emergency and leave,” says Fox. “This is a long-term commitment to rebuild the country. In doing that we need to be building a country that is much more resilient and resistant to disaster.”

Categories: International, Society

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