5 Ways USAID is Responding to Super Typhoon Rai in the Philippines

USAID heavy-duty plastic sheeting arrived in Surigao City in the Philippines on Dec. 21 to help communities affected by Super Typhoon Rai, known locally as Odette. USAID partner the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is distributing the sheeting to help meet the emergency shelter needs of 3,000 people dealing with damaged homes and businesses. / IOM Philippines

On Dec. 16, Super Typhoon Rai — known locally as Odette — barreled into the Philippines, bringing heavy rains, landslides, and widespread flooding. The devastating storm has killed at least 375 people, displaced an estimated 631,000, left many roads and bridges impassable, and knocked out power in more than 60 cities.

Here are five ways USAID is responding to to Super Typhoon Rai:

1. Providing Immediate Assistance to Affected Communities

This aerial photo taken on Dec. 17 shows destroyed houses caused by Super Typhoon Rai after the storm crossed over Surigao City in Surigao del Norte province. / Erwin Mascarinas, AFP

On December 28, USAID announced an additional $19 million in humanitarian assistance to help people affected by Super Typhoon Rai, bringing total USAID assistance for this response to more than $20 million.

With this new assistance, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance will provide food assistance; water, sanitation, and hygiene programs to help keep people healthy; shelter assistance to meet emergency needs and help affected communities start rebuilding homes; protection for the most vulnerable; and emergency logistics to make sure aid can get to people even in the hardest to reach areas.

2. Pre-positioning Emergency Shelter Supplies Before the Storm

Through existing programs, USAID is supporting the Government of the Philippines to mobilize emergency response and relief supplies for people affected by Super Typhoon Rai. / IOM Philippines

Because the Philippines is susceptible to frequent natural disasters, USAID works year-round to help communities prepare for and be more resilient to them. Thanks to a stock of supplies we keep in the Philippines, USAID partner the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has distributed relief supplies, including enough heavy-duty plastic sheeting to meet critical shelter needs for 4,800 families. USAID plastic sheeting is already shoring up the homes and businesses of people affected by the storm.

IOM is also helping to manage evacuation shelters in Caraga and Eastern Visayas regions.

3. Moving Relief Supplies to Affected Areas

USAID partner the UN World Food Program has provided trucks and other vehicles to transport critical relief supplies to affected areas. / WFP Philippines

USAID partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) is providing logistics support to transport staff and relief supplies to affected areas — including trucks carrying enough food from the Government of the Philippines to feed tens of thousands of families.

4. Helping to Restore Electricity and Internet after Power Outages

With support from USAID, the World Food Program in the Philippines is also deploying mobile operations vehicles to support emergency telecommunications to enhance coordination among emergency responders. This support will help ensure that aid organizations can reach people in need.

5. Conducting Assessments and Coordinating Response Efforts

USAID has disaster experts on the ground in the Philippines and in the region who are working in close coordination with humanitarian partners and the Government of the Philippines to coordinate response efforts. / Joe Curry, USAID

USAID disaster experts based in the Philippines and in the region are closely coordinating response efforts with the Government of the Philippines and humanitarian partners on the ground. These USAID disaster experts are working with the Government of the Philippines to conduct damage assessments and identify priority needs. Once these assessments are completed, we will have a clearer picture of the storm’s impact and what additional humanitarian assistance is needed.

Our thoughts are with the people of the Philippines who have been affected by this disaster.

Residents gather next to their destroyed house in Carcar, Philippines’ Cebu province, on Dec. 18, days after Super Typhoon Rai hit the city. / Victor Kintanar, AFP

Get more information on USAID’s response to Super Typhoon Rai.

Follow USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

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