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Heifer International sent a photographer to the Philippines over the weekend to document damage from and record existing state images in the wake of Typhoon Bopha, which struck the southern island of Mindanao last week with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains. The photographer will return to the area in late January, along with a World Ark writer to record the situation and report on long-term agriculture rehabilitation plans.

Update 12/12/12: The following photographs are preliminary photographs; images from the professional photographer will be shared as they are made available.

Heifer Philippines

Meanwhile, Heifer International country staff in the Philippines continues to assess damage in the south from last week’s typhoon strike, and to help prepare for the rehabilitation efforts that will be needed to help project families get back on their feet.

Hercules Paradiang, Heifer Philippines country director, and his team are also working and talking with other nonprofits that are experienced in disaster response, as well as a federation of eight Heifer-organized self-help groups that have been supporting relief efforts since last week and will play an important part in on-the-ground rehabilitation work.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has also assumed direction of NGO efforts and is discussing longer-term rehabilitation partnerships.

Officials said 647 are confirmed dead, with another 780 missing. Total affected population is 487,364 families, or 5,412,140 people in 30 provinces in eight regions. Estimates of overall damage are as high as $173 million.

Specific to Heifer, at least 366 families in two projects in Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur, were significantly affected, with homes damaged or destroyed. More than 250 pigs were lost, as well as 90 goats. Rice, corn and banana crops were significantly damaged, and initial estimates from Heifer communities place damages at $550,000.

Heifer Philippines country staff is asking Heifer International for immediate $50,000 disaster rehabilitation funding to help provide short-term food relief and materials to repair homes and a feed mill, such as tin for the roofs and raw feed ingredients for surviving animals.

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Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She and her husband raise two daughters in a house way too small for their four pets. They spend a lot of time sweeping.