Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ICM Vans Meet Tearful Victims of Typhoon

Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest typhoon to have ever made landfall. 13 million people are affected and over a million people have had their houses damaged. We have all seen images of Tacloban on the news. It’s like nothing the Philippines has ever experienced. But there are large parts of the country with similarly catastrophic damage where the media has not reported. ICM works in many of these areas. We see heroic recovery efforts by locals in many communities, but others continue to struggle. The typhoon took the life of an ICM kindergarten student and also robbed another of her brother.

Here’s a video update from my trip to the Philippines last week - http://vimeo.com/79643295.

Our response is to bring both immediate and long-term aid to our affected communities. We deliver food, water and medicine, as well as programs that help families to rebuild and permanently improve their lives. For more information on ICM’s Disaster Fund visit www.caremin.com/our-work/disaster-fund.

ICM’s longstanding relationship with 5,000 pastors in remote communities across the country means that we are uniquely positioned to offer targeted, tailored solutions to thousands of families. Trusted local pastors inform ICM of the families in their communities with the most desperate need. When ICM arrives with disaster supplies, we don’t just pass out food to those who happen to be nearby. Instead, we come with the names of the families who are most at-risk in the community to deliver the specific aid they need. We make sure that none of the most desperate is overlooked. ICM’s network is an amazing web of people who are ready to serve. They are having tremendous pinpointed impact. And it is paying off. Yesterday we heard that many of the ICM delivery vans were met by tearful families in remote communities, grateful for their first nutrition in a week.

ICM has already distributed hundreds of thousands of meals on the ground to people in need. ICM is also a great resource to other charities because we have food that is pre-positioned in the provinces – we are not waiting on shipments to arrive from overseas. From our inventory we have already given more than 1.4 million meals to partner NGOs who are primarily focused on Tacloban/Samar/Leyte (626,000 meals), Cebu (551,000 meals) and Panay (264,000 meals). And more is on its way.

The typhoon was an incredible disaster. But it was just one more disaster in a series of disasters faced by the ultrapoor. So far, there are over 4,000 confirmed deaths from the typhoon. In “normal” times, however, our best estimates are that 2,300 poor Filipino children die every month. Month after month. Year after year.

The real catastrophe in these communities is ongoing poverty. Millions of children live in conditions that no human being should endure. Everyday they face a lack of clean water, limited food, no sanitation. ICM is focused on long-term solutions to poverty.

The world has a short attention span. Five weeks ago there was a massive earthquake in Bohol that left 300,000 people without shelter. Aid agencies poured in. But now despite the ongoing needs in Bohol, the aid agencies are pulling out to focus on the typhoon.

At ICM we were operating in hundreds of communities in Bohol before, during and after the earthquake. We are staying because we know that needs persist.

In the same way, we were helping the poor in community after community in Negros and Panay in the years before the typhoon. We have now lived through the typhoon with them. And we will be with our ultrapoor friends in these areas as they reconstruct their lives for years to come.

The problems of poverty are haunting. But we can genuinely make a difference. ICM has established a fund to support those afflicted by these natural disasters. Please give to support Filipinos rebuilding their lives today. www.caremin.com/our-work/disaster-fund

David Sutherland
Chairman of the Board

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