23 December 2013
This will be a Christmas unlike any other in the Philippines.
It’s usually a time of celebration, but this year thousands of families affected by Typhoon Haiyan still have no homes and no jobs.
And for many, this will be the first Christmas without the loved ones they lost in the storm.
But thanks to the enormous generosity of our supporters, Christian Aid’s Typhoon appeal has topped £2.2 million – money that is being used to provide long-term support to communities who have lost so much.
We are hugely grateful to our supporters for their kindness.
Our partners in the Philippines will continue to deliver essential food and shelter to those who need it most over the Christmas period.
To date, they have reached more than 83,000 people in some of the worst affected and most isolated areas of the Philippines, providing them with food parcels (including rice and canned meat), hygiene kits (including soap and toothpaste) and shelter materials (such as tarpaulin sheets and ropes).
We hope to reach 100,000 people by the end of the year.
Our partners are helping people like Lourdes Abude, 57, who broke down and cried when she saw what the typhoon had done to her house. Her kitchen roof had been blown away and the room filled with debris.
In addition, the fishing boat and cages that her husband and sons use to make a living were damaged. With no means of repairing them, the family are currently unable to make money.
However, like so many people in the Philippines, Lourdes and her family are remarkably resilient. They have planted root vegetables, which they will be able to harvest and sell.
Christian Aid partners CERD and Coastal Core have also provided the family with an emergency relief pack that included rice, sugar, cooking oil and canned goods.
‘Christmas is a time to give thanks for life. I feel this is especially important this year.'
Christmas: a time to give thanks
Despite everything that has happened, Lourdes says: ‘We’re now thinking about Christmas and organising our celebrations. If we are blessed we will feast. But if not, we will find a way to celebrate.
'For me, Christmas is a time to give thanks for life. I feel this is especially important this year.’
Looking ahead into 2014
‘Helping people to recover and get back on their feet will be the focus of our work over the coming months and years,’ says Alwynn Javier, Christian Aid’s Senior Programme Manager in the Philippines.
‘Supporting households and communities to build back stronger and become more resilient in the future has never been more important.’
In the New Year Christian Aid will start to move towards longer term work. We’ll be helping those who, like Lourdes, have lost their means of income to rebuild their businesses.
We will also be implementing cash for work schemes to help kick-start local economies.
This Christmas and New Year, please continue to keep the people of the Philippines in your hearts and your prayers.