On the morning of 8 November 2013, a Category 5 Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. It devastated 36 provinces, including Isabel, the home of our PASAR copper smelter. Although none of our workers or their families were hurt, many lost their homes and needed food, healthcare and other resources. We contributed $2 million to the relief effort.
Food was the most immediate concern, particularly rice; many families only had enough for 3 to 5 days. Those living below the poverty line might only have had enough for a day. As most markets were destroyed and supply chains were disrupted, food security was the primary issue. PASAR provided food packs for more than 25,000 local people during the first 30 days.
Water supply and sanitation
Another immediate issue was disruption of clean water supplies, sanitation and hygiene. PASAR provided drinking water for the first 60 days.
With around 9,000 houses damaged, shelter was a major concern, especially for families with pregnant mothers or babies, abandoned families with more than 2 small children, or households with older or infirm family members. They needed immediate life-saving shelter, such as tarpaulins and tents, as well as basic tools and fixings for damaged and makeshift shelters. We supplied support to early recovery shelter projects, such as debris removal, salvaging/recycling used lumber and roofing materials, and the use of fallen trees as lumber for immediate shelter. We also supplied mobile equipment for clean-up efforts for 30 days following the typhoon, and developed and distributed a visual guide to “building back safer” to support future construction of more typhoon-resilient housing.
Public health infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, disrupting the delivery of essential health services. Our assistance focused on restoring the capacity of local health centres to prevent injury complications such as infection, tetanus and disability. We also supported them in distributing essential medical supplies, including generator fuel.
About 12,000 children were displaced in the municipality of Isabel alone. We assisted with emergency roofing in schools, psychological support to teachers and pupils, especially over Christmas, repairing classrooms, and replacing school supplies as well as teaching and learning materials.
Infrastructure and rebuilding livelihoods
We have begun to provide assistance in this regard, with an initial focus on school rehabilitation and power infrastructure. The relief effort also plans to identify income-generating opportunities for affected families, and to support them in benefiting from these.