Press release

Leaving the Philippines after having “Built Back Better”

23 May 2016

Paola Barioli

Media Relations Officer

In November 2013, the most powerful typhoon to make landfall in recorded history, Haiyan, struck the Philippines killing 6,000 people, and leaving four million people in need of shelter.

Within 48 hours, Medair had sent its emergency team to assess the damage and start a reconstruction project in communities which were completely destroyed around Dulag, on the island of Leyte, eastern Visayas.

Through its Build Back Better project, Medair gave 1,680 families new homes which are stronger, more durable and more resilient than their previous ones. Over 3,000 people were trained in Disaster Risk Reduction techniques, benefitting 11,000 individuals, and many of the lessons were seen being used by the wider community to strengthen their homes and businesses against future typhoons.

Kaoruko Seki, from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said: “It was our pleasure to assist Medair in support of its shelter project – a very timely and well-planned initiative that no doubt provides a vital support to the people of Dulag.”
In August 2015, to respond to the sanitation crisis caused by the typhoon, Medair hired local contractors and construction teams to rebuild new and stronger latrines for 1,250 families who had lost access to a useable latrine.

With the help of a local charity, Medair was also able to give wheelchairs to people in the community who needed this assistance. Some homes were even built with special designs to include wheelchair ramps to give disabled people a greater degree of mobility.
Now, two and a half years later and having reached its objectives, Medair is leaving the country confident that the communities are equipped to face future natural catastrophes.

Alberto Livoni, Medair’s Head of programme for the Philippines in Lausanne says: “It has been a privilege to help rebuild rural communities on Leyte Island and restore hope for those whose lives were devastated by the Typhoon. Our commitment to our beneficiaries was not to simply restore what had been damaged or destroyed, but to make sure affected families are better prepared to endure any future disaster. Having fulfilled this objective and achieved our mandate, we believe now is the right time for us to leave the Philippines.”

Medair’s humanitarian response to the Philippines was supported by All We Can (UK), Swiss Solidarity, EO Metterdaad (NL), ERICKS Development Partner (SE), Transform Aid International (AU), Tearfund (BE), Tearfund (UK), and generous private donors.

Media enquiries should be directed to:  Paola Barioli, Press Relations Officer, +41(0)78 635 30 95
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Medair is an international humanitarian NGO that provides emergency relief and recovery services to families made vulnerable by natural disasters, conflicts, and other crises. For more information about Medair, click here.  This release was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.