To date, Swiss Solidarity has raised over 41.8 million SFr. to provide relief to victims of Typhoon Haiyan. This campaign is the organisation’s seventh most successful to date, after the ones benefiting the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia in 2004, the Swiss floods of 2000 and 2005, the earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010, the aid provided to Kosovar refugees in 1999 and the floods that affected Pakistan in 2010.
Three months after the catastrophe, the emergency phase implemented to respond to vital needs has ended. During that time, Swiss Solidarity supported nine projects led by its partners ADRA, Caritas Switzerland (two projects), the Swiss Red Cross (two projects), HEKS, Medair, Solidar Switzerland and Terre des hommes – child relief. In all, 40,950 families, or a total of 211,000 people, were helped. This aid initially took the form of emergency goods such as food, personal hygiene supplies, blankets and tarps. Later, most of the families received a kit containing tools and materials to build temporary shelters.
Focus on rebuilding single-family homes
Ernst Lüber, the head of Swiss Solidarity’s projects department, went to the Philippines in mid‑January to assess the situation on the ground for the projects in the reconstruction phase, which is set to begin in the coming weeks. Based on Mr. Lüber’s initial assessment, Swiss Solidarity has identified the key needs for the reconstruction of single-family homes. Many victims have already used the materials at hand to temporarily repair their homes to the best of their abilities. While the relief organisations will follow the traditional local construction custom of lightweight, wooden homes, they will need to be reinforced or transformed to better withstand the future typhoons that will hit the Philippines. Rebuilding schools, as well as funding economic activities such as fishing, logging and farming, are other initiatives that Swiss Solidarity plans to support. These priorities will be discussed shortly with Swiss Solidarity’s partners on the ground in the Philippines; the discussions will orient the development of the second phase of this fund’s guidelines.