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Friday, September 23, 2016

Transforming immediate solutions in times of disaster into a long-term vision.

When Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines in late 2013, it devastated much of the country and left lives in ruin.

HOPE International Development Agency’s partners in the Philippines used their expertise and vast knowledge of the country to plan an immediate response to help families in the areas worst affected and most often neglected. Equally importantly, the planning also included initiatives to address the need for people to restore their livelihoods, grow food, and increase their resiliency in the face of future disasters.

Friends of HOPE International Development Agency responded generously to the call for help and provided the funds needed to provide immediate help, including food, vegetable seeds, and materials to repair damaged infrastructures such as roofs on homes and schools.

While the immediate relief was vitally needed and well received, it could only address a small portion of the long-term needs of the people affected.

In the months and years after the storm of 2013, HOPE and its partners in the Philippines have continued to work with families and communities to create solutions to poverty, including solutions focused on making families and communities better prepared for future disasters and more resilient in the aftermath.

This work has included disaster risk reduction training, which helps government and community leaders plan for quick and effective action when future disasters occur, minimizing human suffering and expediting relief and recovery efforts. Some of the long-term responses have included providing rice seeds and fertilizer, training for farmers, fishing boats and fishing nets for families who had lost their livelihood.

Recently, Barugo, one of the communities that HOPE has worked with since the disaster was featured in a national newspaper in the Philippines.

According to a national ranking, Barugo has improved immensely on the indicators of economic dynamism, governance efficiency, and infrastructure.

Barugo’s ranking among similar municipalities jumped from 436th in the country to 56th in one year. In real terms, this increase means more people have access to economic opportunities, and more effective and supportive government agencies. Instead of just recovering and getting back to the way life was, the people of Barugo are looking at new investment opportunities and partnerships with new sources of income such as tourism. The building of resilience to future disasters also will ensure that the gains made will not be lost if another natural disaster wreaks havoc on the area.

While many factors have contributed to this success, the recognition for what has been accomplished is best directed at HOPE supporters who made it possible through their generosity and desire to create lasting change.