750 emergency packs, pre-prepared and designed for different sizes of family, will benefit at least 4,400 people. “The basic six-person pack contains a tent, cooking pack, blankets, water can, mosquito nets, soap, a plastic sheet and rope. It meets people’s basic needs in the immediate aftermath of disasters like this one” explains Hélène Robin, head of Handicap International’s emergency response.
“Everyone’s talking about Tacloban, which was hit extremely hard, but what also worries me is that more than four days after the typhoon we still have not heard news from other affected areas,” says Edith Van Wijingaarden, Handicap International’s Field Program Director in the Philippines. “One small island appears to have been wiped off the map.”
Handicap International's initial emergency team joined the 74 Handicap International staff already in Philippines. The organisation has been doing development and disaster relief work in the country since 1985. Several additional staff members including logistics experts and emergency specialists are set to arrive over the next few days.
“It’s essential to respond immediately and meet the basic needs of the people affected. This means things like shelter, food and personal hygiene,” explains Hélène Robin, head of Handicap International’s emergency response.
"What makes all the difference is that these packs have been pre-prepared and designed for different sizes of family. The content can be adapted to needs identified in the disaster zone,” adds Hélène. “The basic six-person pack contains a tent, cooking pack, blankets, water can, mosquito nets, soap, a plastic sheet and rope. It meets people’s basic needs in the immediate aftermath of disasters like this one.”
This initial shipment will be rapidly followed by more consignments, including equipment to set up Disability and Vulnerability Focal Points. These include a clinic tent and basic logistical and medical equipment, enabling Handicap International’s teams to care for injured beneficiaries and provide them with mobility aids and assistive devices.
Handicap International is particularly concerned about the plight of the most vulnerable individuals, including people with disabilities and older people. "In a situation as catastrophic as this, these people are exposed to even greater danger because they can’t access humanitarian aid by themselves," says Hélène. "It’s up to us to supply them with relief that meets their specific needs, such as mobility aids, and refer them to other aid organisations that can help them access additional services."