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Typhoon Haiyan: A Year Later

A year after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines with its 195-mile-per-hour winds, progress is being made in helping people to rebuild their lives. Food for the Hungry (FH) immediately responded with life-saving supplies to communities that were completely destroyed. FH also provided child-friendly spaces to provide a safe place for children to learn and play. To help in recovery and rebuilding efforts, FH began forming and training community leadership groups. These groups began addressing issues of livelihoods and health.

We focused on training mothers to minimize their children’s vulnerability to disease, supplemented by health fairs at local schools. We also partnered with local churches to help give people hope, delivering a message that “Jesus wants to be involved with me every day, not just at church!”

Agnes Torres, Typhoon Haiyan Survivor

Agnes Torres, Typhoon Haiyan Survivor

Agnes Torres, 40, is one person touched by the help and support provided by faithful FH prayer and financial partners. Haiyan flattened her house, land and business (retail store for her; career as a fisherman for her husband).

She sought help from FH and was surprised to discover vegetable seeds in the FH food relief packet. Not a farmer, she didn’t expect much luck. Still, she planted a garden to help ease the need for food for her and her family. As her garden thrived, people came by and asked if they could buy some of her excess crop. A businesswoman at heart, Agnes realized that, over time, she and her husband could save up enough money to purchase another motorboat and re-establish their fishing business.

“The seeds and the garden they produced gave my family more than food — they gave us hope,” Agnes said.

Nicasio Froilan, Typhoon Haiyan Survivor

Nicasio Froilan, Typhoon Haiyan Survivor

Hope is also the central theme for Nicasio Froilan and his family’s recovery. Also a fisherman, Nicasio and his family lived a tranquil life along the sea wall of Mercado in the Philippines. Haiyan took away everything — including the family’s hope. Resorting to living at the community’s evacuation center, Nicasio said that without such a place to live, his family of five children would probably have starved to death.

FH provided food to help feed Nicasio and his neighbors, and then established a “cash-for-work” program. Eventually, he received a motorized boat and fishing gear, allowing him to return to the sea for his livelihood. As his situation continues to improve, he both thanks God and shares his good fortune with others in his community, especially the elderly, as he recognizes that his hope has been restored as well as his way of making a living.

That is really what Food for the Hungry is all about — restoring hope and rebuilding lives. For, at its very core, it isn’t about programs and statistics, but, rather, it’s about people — people like Agnes and Nicasio! Remember Haiyan | Keep Praying | Give to Emergency Response