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The Philippines archipelago is one of the most vulnerable regions on the planet in terms of natural disasters, especially typhoons. HI has helped set up an early warning system to alert the local population, particularly the most vulnerable people, in the event of a natural disaster. In November 2013, HI provided emergency response to assist victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 8,000 people. Since January 2017, the HI Philippines programme has been included in HI’s regional programme with Indonesia and East Timor.

Destruction in Leyte province following typhoon Haiyan, HI Philippines.

Destruction in Leyte province following typhoon Haiyan, | © B. Blondel / HI

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Since 1985, HI 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, HI 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. HI 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 assisting highly vulnerable households[1] affected by Typhoon Haiyan by helping them develop new sources of income. HI is also helping communities prepare for natural disasters and ensuring the most vulnerable people are able to protect themselves.

HI 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.

Lastly, HI provides technical support to the Red Cross in the Philippines to ensure it includes people with disabilities in its activities in the provinces of Cebu and Leyte.


[1] Until December 2015.

Areas of intervention

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Situation of the country

Map of HI's interventions in Philippines

A country 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 persons 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.

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