ARTICLE: THIS FIRST APPEARED IN THE REDR AUSTRALIA ANNUAL REPORT
Each year, at least 20 tropical storms damage communities across the country, with the worst resulting in extensive casualties and loss of property and livelihoods. In November 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most savage storms ever recorded in the area, struck the Philippines.
Its winds, which reached unprecedented speeds of 300 km/h, wiped out millions of homes and killed over 6,000 people.
DFAT funding has allowed RedR Australia to provide important training and deploy experts in response to the frequent occurrence of natural disasters in the Philippines. As the only partner on permanent standby to the UN in the southern hemisphere, the presence of RedR Australia has proved vital in deploying real people as part of emergency responses when they are needed most.
This year 28 RedR Australia experts were deployed to the Philippines. With over 100 collective months of work between them these specialists were, and still are, essential in providing assistance and training to those in need.
RedR deployees are highly skilled professionals, qualified in a range of areas. In the case of the Philippines, these included child protection, nutrition, logistics, administration, information management, shelter, communications, engineering, humanitarian affairs and civil military coordination.
This year RedR launched our first public appeal, raising more than $90,000 for the response to Typhoon Haiyan. The appeal complied with fundraising guidelines set by the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and allowed RedR to rapidly deploy more skilled humanitarians to assist in the aftermath of the typhoon.
Given the frequency of tropical storms in the Philippines, RedR has worked across a variety of areas as far back as 2011. While we are heavily involved in the emergency response to tropical storms in the Philippines, we also focus on preparing local communities for the future through our intensive training courses.
This includes projects such as the ongoing Technical Assistance Project (2011-2014) – made possible through DFAT funding and a partnership with the Philippines Office of Civil Defence (OCD) – which trains locals in skills needed to reduce a typhoon’s damage and risk. RedR Australia also deploys specialists to maintain basic Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) standards and to train local communities in managing WASH in emergencies.
The support of both DFAT and DFID has enabled RedR Australia to remain a reliable partner to NGOs and Local Government Units (LGUs), as well as the Filipino government.
The Philippines will continue to face destruction from natural disasters and tropical storms and the time, energy and resources of organisations like RedR Australia are of vital importance in continuing the