Typhoon Hagupit: "We were prepared… "


Typhoon Hagupit did not spare the province of Leyte. The municipalities of Tacloban, Alang Alang and Pastrana, which experienced the full force of Typhoon Haiyan just one year ago, faced this extreme weather event head on. The storm caused extensive material damage: uprooting trees, knocking electricity lines down, and blowing roofs off.

"The memories of Typhoon Haiyan which left around 8,000 people dead in November 2013, are still extremely vivid,” explains Emilie Rivier, Operational Coordinator for Handicap International in the Philippines. “The local populations therefore took the recent warnings from the government and humanitarian actors very seriously, and actively prepared for the disaster. Across the country, 1,700,000 people were displaced to 5,193 evacuation centers.[1] Today, the inhabitants are already getting started on the repair work. To the best of my knowledge there was no loss of life in Tacloban, Alang Alang or Pastrana. The local authorities have even proudly announced two births!"

Since Dec. 9, Handicap International teams have been assessing the extent of the damage suffered by the association’s beneficiaries, checking on the damage caused to their homes, access to school, healthcare, work, and water, health and hygiene. The teams visited around 30 barangays, or small villages, in Alang Alang, Tacloban and Pastrana, where Hagupit caused considerable damage to the agricultural sector, in particular to banana plantations.

Since Typhoon Haiyan, the association has notably been implementing a project to build 200 permanent shelters, in collaboration with the local population. "In these municipalities the results of our assessment were very positive,” Rivier says. “The permanent shelters, built using 'build back safer' methods[2] resisted the typhoon. We will… shortly be ready to resume our construction projects."

Handicap International also visited the families who were given new working tools[3] following the passage of Typhoon Haiyan. "The winds blew and the rain fell continuously for 48 hours, but the pigs (we) distributed are still in good health and the sari-sari stores[4] were not destroyed. Among the 800 households that benefited from HI’s support, only minor material damage has been reported. We have all learned lessons from Typhoon Haiyan, and we were very well prepared."

Typhoon Hagupit has therefore not had any major impact on the projects implemented by Handicap International in the province of Leyte, and the teams have already been able to resume their work.




[1]OCHA Situation Report No. 4, Philippines - Typhoon Hagupit, 9 December 2014.

[2] Method to build homes which are more resistant to natural disasters and adapted to the local context

[3]In order to assist the vulnerable populations who lost their livelihoods in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, Handicap International aims to provide 800 households, from 20 community groups, with a new 'working tool' (tricycle, pig, small store, etc.) and to recover a certain amount of financial autonomy.

[4] Small stores