As Heifer staff members traversed the debris-strewn island that took the direct hit from super typhoon Haiyan, one thing became clearer Monday: the situation for the people there is becoming increasingly precarious as basic supplies like food and drinking water grow scarce.
Heifer Philippines Country Director Herc Paradiang was relaying information from staff in Manila and from two others who were in Eastern Visayas. While our staff have still been unable to reach our projects because the roads leading to them are impassable, reports indicate that our project participants seem to be safe. However, they are running out of supplies, he said.
Help us meet our goal of raising $250,000 to meet our farmers' basic and critical needs in the wake of this storm.
"Roads leading to our communities are rendered not passable while transport costs have skyrocketed, especially in difficult to reach areas," Paradiang said late Monday night (Little Rock time). "Also sources of basic commodities in the whole island are about to be exhausted," he said.
Paradiang said Rico Locaba, Heifer Philippines regional manager, had successfully crossed to Samar, and was on his way to Calubian, Leyte, to check on a project there. Getting there would mean traveling south west, through what seems to be the hardest hit areas.
Progam Officer Nieva Sambas, who was in the southwest portion of Leyte, said that their stocks of food and water in Babay Leyte, were being taken to refresh the dwindling supplies for the people in Tacloban and Ormoc, leaving less available surplus of those essential goods for our farmers, should they need them.
Though she was also still working to get to our project areas, Sambas said what she has seen so far is "horrible." She is also receiving information from community facilitators that a number of livestock had died in the storm. She is working to verfy that information and also the extent of the damage to our farmers' homes.
While each Heifer Philippines project member receives Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction training to help steel them against natural disasters, communities could only do so much preparation in the face of a Haiyan, which is being called the strongest ever to make landfall.
Heifer needs $250,000 to meet the urgent needs of our farmers; to supply them with fresh, potable water, food and building materials to begin reconstruction on their homes. This immediate assistance is essential so that we can begin the long-term development and rehabilitation already started in our projects.
Help our farmers get back on the road to realizing a future free of hunger and poverty.