Typhoon Haiyan Survivors: Then and Now

Three years ago, one of the strongest storms ever recorded tore through the central Visayan islands of the Philippines, leaving over 6,000 dead, 4 million without shelter, and $2.4 billion in damage. The effects of Super Typhoon Haiyan ("Yolanda," as it’s known in the Philippines) are so much more than just statistics however.

Three years ago

Remember Leonida Carupo?

When Typhoon Haiyan hit, it decimated Leonida’s town. Her home was destroyed. Her husband, Seferino, lost his fishing boat and gear - the family’s only means of making a living. The family had little food to eat and little money to buy essentials. For the better part of a year, Leonida, Seferino and their three young grandchildren, Jillian, Lillian and Pedro, lived out of a tent.

How you helped

Your immediate support helped the Carupo family with badly needed shelter repair materials within the first few weeks after the disaster. Over the following months, LWR provided cash-for-work programs, which paid people for essential community clean-up efforts, and began replacing lost as well as offering new livelihood assets, like fishing nets and livestock, so people would have sufficient income to not only survive but to fully recover from the storm.

We are now approaching the third anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, and thanks to the generous support of people like you, LWR has remained in Barangay Lao with Leonida and her family. With your help, we have continued to promote the recovery and diversification of livelihoods through skills training and the use of fish cages and corrals to increase the yields, incomes, and resilience of fisher folk. We built latrines and helped the community improve their waste management systems and practices. We also worked closely with community leaders and volunteers to develop and institutionalize a disaster preparedness plan for Barangay Lao that can save lives, property, and livelihoods in the event of another storm or flood.

Three years later

As you'll see in the video below, your support had a big impact on Leonida and her family.

Today the family lives in their new home, surrounded by a luscious garden, with their growing grandchildren and new puppy, Lucky. The shelter materials they received and the extra income Leonida earned through cash-for-work helped the family build a two-story home, which Leonida says really makes a difference in their lives. Since Barangay Lao sits near the ocean, along a tidal river, it floods often, and the second story allows the family to move their belongings upstairs to keep them from being damaged or lost.

Every week now, Seferino helps his fishing association take care of the thousands of fish they are raising in their new fish cages. His association is doing so well, in fact, they can afford to invest a portion of their new profits into another business- renting kayaks and floating cabanas to tourists. With these multiple revenue streams, the fishers in Seferino’s association now have adequate means to continue to provide for their families even if one stream is disrupted in the future.

When you give after a disaster or emergency, you help families like Leonida’s recover – but you also help them to build back better and stronger. Her family, her whole community, are now better equipped to face future challenges – like a bad fishing season or another storm – thanks to your gifts.

“If there is another disaster to come,” Leonida tells us. “I am strong and now ready to face it.”

Watch more stories

Want to know more about how Leonida's, Eduardo's and Antonio's lives have changed over the past three years? Watch their stories here.