LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Heifer International) - Heifer International has successfully contacted all our central Philippines staff in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan, and they are all OK, however it is becoming clearer that our project areas were devastated by the force of the storm. Heifer International confirmed that virtually all of our farming families in the direct line of the typhoon-about 4,000 people-will need immediate assistance. We will supplement the efforts of government and relief agencies with food, water and roofing materials to help meet basic shelter needs.
"We have staff trying to reach the affected areas from both the north and the south and expect an initial community-level report within the next few days. Heifer is readying two teams to move into the affected areas when the roads are declared passable," said Hercules Paradiang, Heifer International Philippines Country Director.
The first team, from the Bicol region, will be headed by Heifer Philippines regional manager Rico Locaba, and will try to travel through the port connecting Matnog in Sorsogon (Bicol Region) to Allen, Northern Samar which is the gateway from Samar to Leyte Provinces (about 10-12 hours ride) using a Heifer truck. The other team will come from the Southern Philippines. Staff will fly to Cebu and take a fast ferry to Ormoc City to try to locate our second staff member and make other assessments. From Ormoc, both teams will join together to assess project areas in different villages in the municipalities of Hinunangan and Hinundayan, Southern Leyte; Macrohon, Southern Leyte; Ormoc City, Leyte; and Calubian.
While news is dire, Heifer believes teaching resilience is one way to keep our farmers safe in the face of natural disasters. That's why each project there undergoes Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction training.
Heifer has about 1,250 project families in five projects in these areas. Families had at least 36 hours notice about the severity of the typhoon from both the Philippine government and Heifer programs staff.
(Source: Heifer International)