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Typhoon Haiyan

  • How Preparing Early Helped Against Hurricane Patricia and Typhoon Koppu

    In the last two weeks, hurricanes hit western Mexico and Luzon Island in the Philippines.

    Patricia - Trees Blowing - Preparing Early via LA Times

    After both hurricanes, the death toll and damage were far less than feared. Hurricane Patricia, a storm equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane in the U.S., hit western Mexico on October 24. Wind and water destroyed an estimated 3,500 buildings as well as crops. But as of October 26, only six deaths had been reported.

    Typhoon Koppu, which struck the Philippines on October 18, was the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane. In the Philippines, the typhoon submerged 300 villages and caused an estimated $137 million in damage to agriculture alone. However, only about 50 people were reported killed.

    Haiyan - Preparing Early via NY Daily News

    Contrast those storms with Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013 and, until Patricia, was the most powerful hurricane recorded since accurate satellite measurements began in 1970. It left more than 7,300 people dead or missing and caused $2.8 billion in damage.

    After these October storms ended, disaster experts applauded both countries for their preparations that helped limit death and damage from the hurricanes.

    The United Nations 2014 Human Development Report listed two ways to limit vulnerability to disasters: prevent them from happening and build resilience among people and communities.

    Obviously, hurricanes aren’t preventable. However, both Mexico and the Philippines had plans in place to disseminate information and arrange for evacuation.

    After the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the government of the Philippines and aid agencies began focusing on disaster risk reduction, according to a story in The Guardian. They emphasized early warning dissemination, clear information about evacuation centers, pre-positioning aid in remote communities and teaching safer places to build homes and plant crops.

    Two days before Typhoon Koppu struck, Filipino president Benigno Aquino III broadcast a warning to the nation. According to the U.N., that broadcast, along with close coordination with meteorological, government and aid workers, helped people concentrate their efforts.

    More than 65,000 people were evacuated, with more than 12,000 staying in 136 shelters.

    Mexico made similar preparation. About 3,000 soldiers fanned out around southwestern Mexico in the days before Hurricane Patricia hit, and more soldiers and sailors came in after, according to an Associated Press story. USA Today reported at least 50,000 people stayed in more than 2,000 shelters.

    "'The 'warning-alert-evacuate-then hunker down' combination seems to have worked to limit the human losses from the wind component of the hazard," said Richard S. Olson, director at the International Hurricane Research Center in Miami, to the AP. "Local, state, and national authorities seemed to have gotten this one right."

    It helped too that the storm grew so big so quickly it didn’t have time to build up much of a storm surge and then quickly dissipated when it hit the mountains near the coast, Olsen said.

    Hurricane Evac Sign - Preparing EarlyIndividual families can have evacuation plans ready in case of emergency. They should include escape routes and emergency meeting places outside their home and neighborhood, according to ready.gov. They should account for individual needs and responsibilities, type of shelter and methods of transportation. Disability, age, and pets should also be considered.

    Families should also have communication plans with contact information for family members and friends, including an out of town contact. Each family member should carry a contact card, available to fill out at www.redcross.org.

    Resilience, the second way to limit vulnerability to disasters, includes developing skills to weather many types of shocks, according to the U.N. report.

    One way to develop resilience is to be financially prepared. That means having a savings and getting important information organized, according to Ann House, coordinator of the Personal Money Management Center at the University of Utah.

    A short-term savings covers things like a down payment on a home. An emergency savings helps to prevent high-interest debt like credit cards or short-term loans when things come up like car repairs or doctor bills, she said.

    Equally important is to take savings out first via direct deposit. Then live off the rest. It’s an out of sight, out of mind thing.

    “I know if I keep extra money in my checking account, I will spend it until it’s gone,” she House.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “Emergency Financial First Aid Kit” is a great financial organization resource, House said.

    The 44-page booklet includes four sections that identify what information to collect, like social security cards, insurance policies, prescriptions and emergency contact information.

    “If there’s a natural disaster like a fire, do you know where your birth certificates are?” House asked.


    Hurricane_Blog_Banner - Preparing Early

  • "Build Back Better": a Typhoon Haiyan Update

    When Typhoon Haiyan first set down in the Philippines last November, Emergency Essentials worked with disaster relief organization CharityVision to provide relief to those affected by the severe natural disaster. We sent supplies donated through your purchases and by our generous vendors, and we were able to outfit a great team. CharityVision recently sent us an update on the progress of their relief efforts, along with a few photos that illustrate how your donations have helped those in need.

    Those affected by Typhoon Haiyan continue to face the aftermath of the destructive storm

    A volunteer and children from the Philippines using the Wavelength Emergency Radio

    CharityVision has quite a few projects underway to help the long-term recovery and reconstruction of the area. They’re working to build a larger reserve of medical supplies and to set up a modular hospital facility. They also plan to provide shelter and power to families, hold gardening classes to teach self-reliance, and offer additional services to help  those in need. Each of these projects is possible because of the generous donations CharityVision has received from communities and companies around the world.

    As CharityVision works to "Build Back Better", those affected by Typhoon Haiyan strive to get their lives back.

    Although injured, refugees from Typhoon Haiyan smile as they plan to restart their lives

    One of CharityVision’s major goals is creating projects that will better the living conditions in the affected areas for those who saw their lives turned upside down by the typhoon. All of these projects are to help restore jobs and offer employee growth to those working in those jobs. CharityVision seeks to “Build Back Better”.

     “We view the reconstruction as an opportunity to build back better,” CharityVision posted on their new Facebook page Action Humanitarian which focuses on their efforts in rebuilding the Philippines. “Our current plans include structures that will withstand future storms to avoid the repetitious cycle of rebuilding following destruction.” They go on to say that their building plans will provide added protective elements over previous building styles without adding extra cost or skilled labor.

    Amongst the chaos and ruin that Haiyan caused, an additional issue has appeared: how does the country keep certain areas of the country occupied when so much of it is desolate and destroyed? Despite the international relief efforts aimed at the Philippines, the quality of life is dwindling in areas where lack of power caused by the typhoon creates a lack of commerce leading to a lack of jobs. Talented workers and students are leaving certain areas and moving to other locations for work. Learn more about the quality of life in the Philippines from the New York Times article “Months After Typhoon, Philippine City Suffers From an Exodus of Jobs

    Refugees from Typhoon Haiyan still feel the affects of the destructive storm

    Princeton Tec headlamps prep victims of Typhoon Haiyan for night with white ultrabright light

    As you can see, natural disasters can still have effects long after the storm has passed through making it even more important to prepare yourself. In the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan cased months of difficult—and it isn’t over yet. Get started today on your own preparedness plans so you can be as resilient as possible if a disaster strikes.

    Check out the following articles to help you develop a valuable skill set that will help you survive in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

    Preparing by Developing your Skills

    How to Build a Fire

    First Aid for Wounds

    Emergency Shelter




  • Update from the Philippines

    Philippines Update

    In November, Emergency Essentials worked with CharityVision to send supplies to the Philippines to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan after it ripped through their country. After gathering supplies, fourteen members of CharityVision flew down mid-November to bring a spark of hope to the people in Leyte.

    Many of the volunteers working with CharityVision already spoke the local languages (having served church-related missions to the area) and had medical backgrounds such as emergency room doctors and nurses, physician assistants, medical doctors, or rescue professionals. Once they arrived, volunteers immediately worked to provide medical attention to people of all ages and to clear roads of downed trees and other debris.

    When reflecting on the team’s efforts in the Philippines, Tom Aguilar of Omnimed (another Utah company sponsoring the effort) said, “This CharityVision advance team [is] completely self-contained and equipped. They each hand-carried 150 pounds of every imaginable form of medicines and supplies, tools, and solar equipment . . .”

     Philippines Update: CharityVision's efforts

    Despite the efforts of CharityVision and other volunteers, the conditions of the country are still bleak with destruction as thousands of homeless refugees seek food and clean water. However, volunteer and locals alike are working to rebuild homes, and lives, within the destroyed community.

     Philippines Update: Charity Vision using the Katadyn Water Filter to purify water supplies

    CharityVision continues to send groups roughly every 10 days, focusing more on reconstruction than medical care although they still play an important role in helping the people. In January, another group will head over to help rebuild the infrastructure of the health system and provide additional relief work, according to Jon Woozley, one of the volunteers of CharityVision.

    To read the rest of how CharityVision is working to provide relief to those in the Philippines, check out their article: http://globalgoods.com/yolanda11-20.html

    As we remember those still experiencing the aftermath of this natural disaster, let’s not forget the power of community involvement and volunteer efforts in giving aid.  There are many good, reputable organizations still accepting donations to help in the Philippines. We encourage you to donate if you are able.

    For more information on how to prepare and help others to survive through natural disasters like this, check out our Insight Articles to make sure you know what to do if one strikes in your area:

    Hurricane Preparedness

    Avalanche Safety

    What to Do Before, During, and After a Flood

    Earthquake Preparedness

    Preparing for a Tornado

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