The Homeless People's Federation Philippines has come forward to help the people affected by the recent floods in Manila. The Metro Manila area received a month’s worth of rain from Typhoon Ketsana which made landfall on 26 September 2009 after several days of rain had already saturated the ground.
The Homeless People's Federation Philippines (HPFPI) has come forward to help the people affected by the recent floods in Manila. The Federation, as it is sometimes known, is affiliated with Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI).
The Metro Manila area received a month’s worth of rain from Typhoon Ketsana (known as Ondoy within the country) which made landfall on 26 September 2009 after several days of rain had already saturated the ground. Nationwide, 27 provinces in 5 regions were affected with landslides and severe flooding due to Ketsana.
According to the Filipino government, about 6 million people were affected by the flooding, with over 287,000 people still housed in evacuation shelters. More than 450 people lost their lives in the disaster.
Most of the victims were those living in informal settlements with conditions that were insecure and environmentally degraded even before the typhoon hit. It is estimated that between a third and a half of Philippine’s urban population live in informal settlements without proper access to toilets, water supply, and electricity.
The Federation’s relief efforts initially concentrated on urban poor communities in recognised priority areas in Quezon City, Bulacan and Montalban, Rizal. Site visits were conducted in these areas to identify families that lost their homes during the disaster and in need of immediate assistance. In addition, HPFPI also conducted rescue operations and provided food and clothing to victims.
Having taken care of the immediate humanitarian needs, the Federation’s focus is now on the victims’ medium and long term rehabilitation needs. Challenges in this area include working with local governments to identify suitable temporary shelter for victims while their homes are being rebuilt, and the continued need to prioritise affected communities in order to allocate limited resources.
HPFPI is also looking at the possibility of establishing a national Disaster Fund to help victims. With such a fund, the organisation hopes to be able to provide immediate as well as long-term relief to victims of future catastrophes of this nature.