On 8 November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm to ever make landfall, hit the Philippines. It killed thousands of people, wiped out entire villages and left four million homeless.
Roads, electricity and communications were cut off. In all, 14 million people were affected by the disaster.
The huge humanitarian response saved thousands of lives, as fast delivery of emergency relief prevented widespread hunger and outbreaks of disease. This was only made possible by the generosity of the public, including by people in Coleraine.
Gistado Gallaron, a rice and coconut farmer in Leyte, said at the time: “In one year, Oxfam will still be here and you will see an improvement because of the help you have given us.”
As we approach one year on, I would like to say thank you to Coleraine Times readers. Their contribution is helping to make a very real difference to poor and vulnerable people in the Philippines.
Oxfam has so far reached almost 850,000 people with relief in the first 12 months of the response.
Working with local partners, we delivered life-saving support such as safe drinking water, basic sanitation, tents and tarpaulins for emergency shelter. We also distributed hygiene kits containing basic essentials like soap, toothbrushes, underwear and blankets.
The long road to recovery continues and Oxfam is now concentrating our efforts on sustainable reconstruction of houses and livelihoods, so that farming and fishing communities can earn a living and feed themselves.
The continued support of people in Coleraine is hugely appreciated and is making a positive impact for people in the Philippines, and also for those tens of thousands whom Oxfam is assisting in Gaza, Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as in West Africa where people are affected by the Ebola outbreak – not to mention our long-term development projects throughout the world.
If readers would like to donate to Oxfam, visit www.oxfamireland.org/donate or donate unwanted clothes, homewares, DVDs, music or books at the local Oxfam Coleraine shop.
Thank you once again for your continued support and generosity.
Chief Executive, Oxfam Ireland