On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on the islands of the Philippines, killing at least 6,300 people and destroying 1.1 million homes. Considered one of the deadliest storms in modern history, Haiyan left an entire country of people not knowing what to do next.
Surveying the damage on the island of Leyte days after Typhoon Haiyan
All Hands Volunteers had teams working in the Philippines when Haiyan struck, allowing us to be among the first responders on the ground. Within a month of the storm, Project Leyte, our fifth All Hands project in the Philippines, opened and volunteers started to pour into the country looking to help those in need. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, All Hands initial efforts were focused on the distribution of food and other non-food related items, debris removal and the deconstruction of damaged structures in the province of Ormoc. In February 2014, we expanded our project to the municipality of Kananga where we partnered with the World Health Organization on debris clearance/management and repairs for the district’s sole hospital.
Volunteers distributing emergency supplies to those in need days after the storm
After months of emergency response work, All Hands pledged to stay and help the people recover from Haiyan and our efforts shifted to helping survivors rebuild their homes and lives. As a result of this decision, while some NGOs moved on, All Hands made a home in Tacloban, listening to the needs of the community and making every effort to meet them.
Volunteers mixing cement while building a community space in Tacloban
Over the past two years, All Hands has built and repaired more than 550 homes, shelters, hospitals and schools. We have built community spaces in six barangays (Filipino terminology for a village) asking locals to help design what they want to see in their community. We founded a woodshop program that focuses on teaching underprivileged teenagers basic carpentry, so that they can both learn a key skill and improve their confidence. And we’ve expanded our efforts to the neighboring island of Samar, helping to build an evacuation center for a municipality that was left in a state of ruins after Typhoon Haiyan. This momentous effort was powered by 1,000 dedicated volunteers who dropped everything to help the Filipino people at the moment of their greatest need.
One of the many homes All Hands has built in the past two years
All Hands’ response to Haiyan over the past two years illustrates our unique dedication to long-term community engagement fueled by a force of volunteers who are determined to stay the course. This powerful combination leads to transformative results – for the volunteers who roll up their sleeves, for the donors who fund the work, and for the people and communities that we serve all around the world.
Donate today to help us continue our work in the Philippines.