The Philippines archipelago is one of the most vulnerable regions on the planet in terms of natural disasters, especially typhoons. In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines, affecting 15 million people. Handicap International immediately supplied aid to the victims of the disaster, and continues to do so today. It has also helped set up an early warning system to alert the local population, particularly the most vulnerable people, in the event of a natural disaster.
© B. Blondel / Handicap International
Since 1985, Handicap International has worked in the most poverty-stricken areas of the Philippines. The organisation regularly mobilises its emergency response teams in the wake of cyclones, volcanic eruptions or floods that regularly strike the country.
Following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the most violent typhoon ever recorded, Handicap International launched an emergency response intervention in the provinces of Leyte and Capiz. The organisation’s teams deployed a logistics platform to help ensure humanitarian aid reached the most isolated areas. They also distributed 1,390 tents to people whose homes had been destroyed, and supported the process to rebuild shelters for 900 households. Handicap International also worked in 50 Child Friendly Spaces to ensure children with disabilities were able to play and learn in a secure environment.
Today, the organisation is still helping 700 highly vulnerable households affected by the typhoon, by providing them with financial and technical assistance, so that they can develop new sources of income. Handicap International is also helping to set up an early warning system to alert communities to natural disasters and to ensure the most vulnerable people are able to protect themselves.
Handicap International also runs a cardiovascular disease (CVD) programme and a diabetes care programme in the Davao region with the aim of preventing the onset of disabilities. For example, the organisation is improving diabetes foot care services within the Davao health care system, by training professionals and raising the awareness of diabetes sufferers regarding existing care options. It also runs a project to extend the public CVD scheme to new areas.
The country is badly affected by natural disasters.
Located in South-East Asia, the Philippines archipelago is one of the most vulnerable regions on the planet in terms of natural disasters. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions cause substantial losses and extensive damage. Typhoons are very frequent and their secondary effects – landslides, flooding and flash floods – are devastating. Typhoon Haiyan hit the country in November 2013 and left 8,000 people dead and 15 million affected in some way by the disaster. During the two decades that preceded Typhoon Haiyan, natural disasters had already killed more than 31,000 people and affected 98 million people in the Philippines.
As in many developing countries, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease also pose a serious threat and are one of the causes of disabilities in the population.
In the Philippines, poverty is not just a rural phenomenon. There are major inequalities between different regions and socio-economic groups. The poorest provinces are those of Visayas and Mindanao, but poverty is also very acute in the southern regions of Luzon.
The Philippines has ratified the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Legislative measures have been adopted since 1982 and a major law to protect people with disabilities was promulgated in 1992. It emphasises their right to participate fully in society and to access training and employment, education, health and social services and public transport on an equal basis.