Four years ago on 8 November, Typhoon Haiyan – one of the most destructive tropical cyclones ever recorded – hit Southeast Asia, killing more than 7,000 people and leaving an estimated $2.8 billion worth of damage.
Stuart Rivers, CEO of international charity Sailors’ Society, which has helped rebuild communities in the Philippines, said: “This year, the world has seen the horrific damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Unfortunately, from our experience with Haiyan, we know storms like these can have a terrible effect for years to come.
“Four years after Haiyan destroyed vast areas of the Philippines, millions of people still suffer from the loss of loved ones, homes and jobs.”
International maritime charity Sailors’ Society responded to the disaster by raising £225,000 through an emergency appeal and has been helping communities in the Philippines rebuild ever since.
“Around a quarter of the world’s seafarers come from the Philippines and the country is key to world trade. It was important that when disaster struck, Sailors’ Society was able to support communities to rebuild their lives,” Stuart added.
Sailors’ Society has rebuilt 48 homes, four medical centres and three classrooms - that double as emergency shelters - since Typhoon Haiyan.
The two newest health centres opened in June and will help almost 8,000 families in Leyte and Cebu, two of the provinces worst hit by the disaster.
In the immediate aftermath of the typhoon, the charity sent trained chaplains to offer practical and emotional support. It has also set up three crisis response networks to help those affected by trauma.
“With more than 20 deadly storms hitting the Philippines annually, our crisis response network provides much-needed trauma care and counselling services to help those devastated by natural disasters pull their lives together again,” Stuart added.
Sailors’ Society works internationally and aims to transform the lives of seafarers and their families at home, in port and at sea through the delivery of chaplaincy, education and the relief of poverty and distress.
The charity has expanded its programme work in the last couple of years and last year, the charity’s chaplains and ship visitors reached more than 400,000 seafarers.
Stuart said: “Seafarers can spend nine months at sea and are often called the invisible workforce. Sailors’ Society is committed to showing seafarers that they are not forgotten.”