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Eyewitness: safer homes

As Typhoon Haiyan approached the Philippines, Maribel Baynaco, her husband and five children sought refuge in a local school. It would be the last they saw of their home.

It was no match for the fierce winds and brutal storm surges. They lost everything; their home was flattened.

Since then 35-year-old Maribel and her family have been living in temporary shelter - a tent provided by the UNHCR.  Despite the protection from the elements, the living conditions remain challenging.

Maribel and her children  
Maribel with her two children in the Philippines

Improving living conditions

Maribel and her family are forced to sleep on the floor. The uneven, cold ground, makes sleeping difficult, consequently causing back and health problems, particularly for children.

Thanks to the work of Christian Aid partner Urban Poor Associates (UPA), in Tacloban City, Leyte, people have been provided with plywood sheets. Not only do they keep the ground even and dry – making sleeping more comfortable - they also help keep the living conditions clean.

Some families have even manufactured makeshift beds from the materials supplied.

Food and play for children

Children play in the Philippines
Children sing and dance at a session to support their well-being in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan

Maribel’s three children have also benefited from a feeding programme provided by UPA, which has ensured the nutritional needs of 1,000 of the most vulnerable people have been met.

While pregnant and breast-feeding women, children and the elderly have all benefited, the burden on those unable to find work and earn enough to feed their families has been eased.

UPA have also run play therapy sessions, to support children in the wake of Haiyan and the traumatic experiences they’ve lived through.


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