Typhoon Haiyan three years on: IHG Foundation visit the Philippines

Following the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan on the Central Philippines in November 2013, CARE International UK were on the ground leading urgent relief efforts to help local people with emergency supplies, and support to repair and rebuild homes.  Since 2011, IHG have partnered with CARE, supporting and providing assistance with the organisation's humanitarian work.

In September 2016, George Turner and Kate Gibson, two trustees of the IHG Foundation, visited the Philippines with representatives from CARE. Here they tell us about their experiences witnessing the impact of IHG's support on communities impacted by Typhoon Haiyan.

As a result of the Typhoon, the city of Tacloban was left devastated with thousands losing their lives - even three years on, the devastation is still evident across the city.  We stopped at the main memorial to those who perished in the storm; the front section of a cargo ship, called the Eva Jocelyn. During the typhoon, there was a huge storm surge which brought the ship and its cargo about 350 metres onto shore.

Standing on the Eva Jocelyn and looking out to sea, it was hard to imagine that the wave could bring such a huge ship onto land. It brought home the power of the storm and the destruction that came with it.

The Eva Jocelyn after Haiyan, and now as the Haiyan Memorial in Tacloban

Later on that day, we met the team at the Leyte Centre for Development (LCDE), a local NGO working with CARE to help local communities rebuild their lives after Typhoon Haiyan. We spoke with the LCDE Executive Director, Miss Minet, who has dedicated the past 25 years to helping local people in Leyte - the poorest part of the Philippines. Recently Miss Minet and her team have been working with communities to help them develop disaster preparedness plans.  This includes developing maps of where the most vulnerable people live and creating plans to ensure everyone will be protected in the event of another typhoon - an all too frequent occurrence in the Philippines.

Inspired by the work of LCDE and others to help the Philippines prepare for future disasters, we were very happy to announce a grant from the IHG Foundation to CARE to replicate work done on the ground in community led disaster preparedness across the Central Philippines and in other parts of the country.

The next day, we headed off to two villages which CARE has helped over the past three years: Plaridel and Tabon. In both villages we found a similar dynamic, with both demonstrating the need for long term support. That's not just to rebuild homes but for livelihood support, as the coconut palms on which the villages were dependent were destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan. 

A common ambition in both villages was to have some of the children pursue post-secondary education.  Currently it seems impossible as there simply isn’t any money to pay tuition or even petrol to get from the village to Tacloban. This has only fueled our motivation to further assist these communities in the future. The IHG Foundation team in Plaridel village

Despite the difficulties they had faced from the storms and the ongoing hardships of the aftermath, the sense of community spirit and hope in these villages was very obvious, and was both inspiring and humbling.  

After an incredibly emotional, and intense trip to the central Philippines we said goodbye to the local CARE team. A short visit, but one which we will stay with us forever.

The IHG Foundation is proud to continue its work and collaboration with CARE, actively supporting and providing assistance to their vital work in the Philippines and in other countries around the world. Find out more about IHG and CARE.