Typhoon Haiyan: Helping on the Ground, Three Months Later

Levi Strauss & Co.
February 7, 2014

On November 7, an exceptionally powerful tropical cyclone swept through the central Philippines, taking the lives of more than 6,000 people. The storm flattened homes, schools, hospitals and just about everything else in its path.

Some experts estimate Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) was the strongest storm to ever make landfall. Close to 4 million people were displaced, and about 100,000 still wake up each morning — and go to sleep each night — in evacuation centers.

Over the past three months, our contributions have helped make a difference in the lives of people affected by Typhoon Haiyan, particularly those in the hardest-hit communities. But even though things have gotten a little better, life in the devastated areas is still far from good.

Days after the typhoon, the Levi Strauss Foundation contributed $50,000 to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) to support immediate relief efforts and another $50,000 to the National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the Philippines for long-term recovery and rehabilitation programs for often-overlooked indigenous communities.

Since then, UNHCR’s efforts on the ground have had wide-ranging impact:

  • 100,000 people were given temporary shelter at hundreds of evacuation centers;
  • 100,000 children benefited from basic nutrition, and 40,000 were screened for malnutrition;
  • Thousands of households received hygiene and water kits, as well as basic emergency shelter materials;
  • 14,000 people were connected to emergency employment programs;
  • 1,900 teachers were trained to provide psycho-social support and counseling.

The UNHCR also collected debris to allow access to more than 300 schools, three hospitals, 12 municipal buildings and 120 roads.

The UNHCR also collected debris to allow access to more than 300 schools, three hospitals, 12 municipal buildings and 120 roads.

I’m also proud to say that LS&Co. employees around the world joined to support these humanitarian efforts.

In the Philippines, a team of volunteers raised money for the Philippine Red Cross, while others collected clothing, food and water, and independently distributed them to a number of local organizations.

Our offices in Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan raised additional funds. Lastly, employees from all over the world made individual donations, which were then matched by the Levi Strauss Foundation.

Together, LS&Co. employees contributed an additional $26,000 to Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.

The road to recovery is long and difficult. But every day, we strive to make a difference in the communities where we live and work. And this is one of the many reasons I am proud to be part of LS&Co.

I encourage you to watch this  brief video update from UNHCR’s work on the ground.

Main image: Housing near coastline in Tanuan, Leyte, Philippines. Courtesy: UNHCR, R. Rocamora, Nov. 2013