“Providing a Roof” and More to Communities Affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: the Médecins Sans Frontières Experience

MSF distributed materials for reconstructing houses and boats as kits to be shared between households

Abstract

Objectives

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013 and left a trail of destruction. As part of its emergency response, Médecins Sans Frontières distributed materials for reconstructing houses and boats as standardized kits to be shared between households. Community engagement was sought and communities were empowered in deciding how to make the distributions. We aimed to answer, Was this effective and what lessons were learned?

Methods

A cross-sectional survey using a semi-structured questionnaire was conducted in May 2014 and included all community leaders and 269 households in 22 barangays (community administrative areas).

Results

All houses were affected by the typhoon, of which 182 (68%) were totally damaged. All households reported having received and used the housing material. However, in 238 (88%) house repair was incomplete because the materials provided were insufficient or inappropriate for the required repairs.

Conclusion

This experience of emergency mass distribution of reconstruction or repair materials of houses and boats led by the local community was encouraging. The use of ““standardized kits”” resulted in equity issues, because households were subjected to variable degrees of damage. A possible way out is to follow up the emergency distribution with a needs assessment and a tailored distribution.

This research was supported by the UK Department for International Development’s Operational Research Capacity Building Programme led by the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union)

Citation

Ali E, Ferir M-C, Reid T, Gray H, Van Den Boogaard W, Gonzales C, Zachariah R. “Providing a Roof” and More to Communities Affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: the Médecins Sans Frontières Experience. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. 2016;11(3):285-9.

“Providing a Roof” and More to Communities Affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: the Médecins Sans Frontières Experience

Published 10 December 2016