Starting anew: willing to learn new skills

By June Paulette Eclipse
Communications with Communities – Guiuan

Eastern Samar – Felimon Sales sits on the veranda of his new home in San Roque Sapao, one of the transitional sites built by the International Organization for Migration. But there is one thing different from his house to the rest of the units: it has a ramp instead of steps.

Felimon narrates of his experience on that fateful day in November 8, 2013 when super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda hit Guiuan: “My family and I sought refuge at a church prior to the typhoon. Then it started – the winds were extremely strong and there was zero visibility. It felt like the end of the world. Later, water rushed into the church and a huge slab of rock smashed my legs. I was stuck, I couldn’t move. Luckily, my nephews were around and they were able to rescue me, otherwise, the whole church’s wall would have crushed on me and I can only imagine the worse.”

For eight months, Felimon and his family lived in a bunkhouse, where they relied on food relief for survival. “I am thankful to those who have been helping us,” he says in Waray-waray, one of the local languages of Leyte and Samar. “But sometimes, it’s hard to believe that I am now this, on a wheelchair,” referring to his inability to stand and walk. “I can accept losing properties but it will take time for me to probably accept that I am now disabled.”

Felimon, who was a master tailor pre-Haiyan, discloses that he feels sorry for his wife, Virginia. He adds: “I used to be a master tailor. These legs used to be my source of income, my livelihood… but now, I am a liability.”

Virginia, meanwhile, finds it a great challenge to look for a job.

“Even if I want to, I can’t because it’s not just him I’ll leave behind but my orphaned two-year old grandchild,” she says a matter-of-fact. “To make ends meet, I started a vegetable garden in our backyard, and Filemon gives us company when we’re planting.”

When asked about the future, Filemon and Virginia say they are hopeful. But at this point, they hope that someone or an organisation can provide them training to start a home-based livelihood.



As of September 2014


Camp Coordination, Camp Management
(ESP - Evacuation Support Programme)

Visit the CCCM cluster website

Individuals Assisted with Site
Management Support

benefitting from Camp

Individuals Trained in Camp

Displacement Sites
Assessed as per
30 June DTM

In the Philippines, together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), IOM is the Cluster Co-lead for Camp Coordination Camp Management Cluster (CCCM). As a result, IOM is committed to assist the Government in times of emergency, to manage displacement and coordinate the provision of basic humanitarian services in evacuation centres and other displacement sites and to develop the CCCM capacity of local authorities and vulnerable communities prior to disasters.

For the Typhoon Haiyan Response, evacuation centers were opened to accommodate pre-emptive evacuees several days prior to the typhoon’s landfall as per usual practice of local governments. IOM teams were in the immediate aftermath to support the Philippine Government in registering the evacuees, promoting humane living conditions at the evacuation centers and setting in motion the transitioning of the evacuees from displacement to safe and dignified return or relocation. IOM’s CCCM/ESP surge teams supported these evacuation centers as well as spontaneous settlements to immediately provide emergency shelter and non-food item assistance as well as to conduct rapid assessments of needs and conditions of families living temporarily at these displacement sites using the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). In addition, IOM has undertaken upgrades of the displacement sites including family privacy partitions, drainage canals to mitigate flooding, bathing cubicles, cooking counters, multi-purpose halls and site management posts. The displaced families now enjoy improved living conditions, facilities and services. More than 83% of the affected families live now in bunkhouses or single-detached temporary shelters as they await relocation to safer areas and permanent shelters. At the same time, affected communities also benefited from trainings in site management which render them better-prepared to continue managing the current displacement and to face any future displacement.



Visit the IOM shelter website and Shelter Cluster website

Over 30,000
Household benefitting
from Recovery Shelter

Over 40,000
Individuals attended the
Technical Shelter
DRR Training

Shelters completed

Over 400
Shelters on-going

IOM continues to support affected populations by Typhoon Haiyan through its Shelter Programme. Despite acknowledging that IOM has achieved many successes with generous supports from donors, the damage by Haiyan was of such breadth and the vulnerability of the people so acute, that there remains a large demand which can be highly aggravated if an even a small scale typhoon hits these areas. IOM plans to continue to support the Government of the Philippines to provide safer sheltering solutions and seek durable solutions for those who were displaced and whose homes were damaged and destroyed by natural and human-made disasters.

IOM will continue to do so through:

  • Providing adequate emergency shelter support in the onset of an emergency response, in line with the social and cultural requirements of the affected population.
  • Identify and build safe homes to most vulnerable members of communities, as an opportunity to further implement the knowledge transfer on safer construction practices
  • Continuing construction of transitional shelters that infuse disaster risk reduction and ‘build back safer’ methods.
  • Capitalize on the technical trainings provided during Haiyan response and support the establishment of livelihood activities based on the knowledge transfer and new skills to build safer houses with the locally available materials.
  • Support the Government of the Philippines to establish a network of evacuation centres in the high risk areas as well as to have preparedness activities, namely capacity building on disaster risk reduction management (DRRM) and information management capacity.
  • Further disseminate safe construction practices through communication tools and partnership with local institutions, such as universities and vocational trainings providers.
  • In coordination with DSWD, preposition emergency shelter and non-food item stocks.




Programme on


Maternal Child
Health cases



As part of its efforts in providing life-saving interventions, particularly to displaced persons in evacuation centers and bunkhouses, IOM assists partners in providing basic medical information and services for affected populations. IOM has health teams on the ground which provide immediate support by conducting medical consultation as well as medical referrals to secondary and tertiary health care facilities in case further medical assistance is needed.

The IOM health team cover three main aspects of health services: Curative, Preventive and Rehabilitative. This includes for example the support to the Department of Health in terms of augmentation of health personnel in the selected affected areas in the municipalities of Northern Iloilo and in the municipalities in Capiz. In addition, IOM is providing medicines and essential supplies as well as medical outreach in hard to reach areas and is conducting medical referrals for beneficiaries. IOM health teams are also conducting Capacity Enhancement Training for public health nurses, midwives, barangay health workers and community leaders.

Furthermore, IOM is supporting the health system revitalization which includes repair and rehabilitation of health facilities that were partially and completely damaged by the typhoon. Lastly, health Promotion/Education is imparted through radio programmes, dissemination of Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials and other regular health activities in the displacement sites, bunkhouses and transitional shelters. 






39, 261
Individuals trained on
protection issues

57, 728
Individuals reached
through protection
IEC materials

2, 282
Individuals assisted
through protection
support activities

For IOM, Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) includes all forms of violence against women, children, minorities (e.g., ethnic groups, persons with disabilities). Trafficking in persons is a grave form of SGBV. According to IOM’s Migration Crisis Operational Framework, SGBV usually intensifies after prolonged displacements, considering that more people find themselves in vulnerable situations without shelter and livelihood.

Counter-Trafficking Objective: To support the government’s efforts in countering human trafficking through prevention and protection of displaced populations particularly women, girls and boys in seven critical areas of interest across the Visayas region and in Metro Manila.

Gender-based Violence (GBV) Prevention Objective: To support the capacity of the Government of Philippines, cluster partners and community members to minimise risks associated to SGBV, and ensure provision and safe access to multi-sectoral response to SGBV through survivor-centred service for affected IDPs.

In the Philippines, IOM has a trained and dedicated protection team which ensures mainstreaming of gender and protection approaches in its operations. It has developed modules and tools for the field staff and local partners’ work on SGBV prevention and protection support services in both conflict and disaster-affected areas. It has directly reached over 90,000 individual women and men through awareness raising activities and communications materials, over 2,000 plus women and men for community-based psychosocial support, and reached out to over 1.5 million women and men through social media campaigns.



More about CWC

92 Rado Shows
covering topics on Shelter, Protection, Health, Livelihood, CCCM, WASH and DRR

111.5 hours
of radio broadcast

27,490 IEC
materials distributed

789,600 individuals
reached by Radio and Print Media


'Starting the Conversation: Information, Feedback and Accountability in Post-Typhoon Philippines’ is an in-depth assessment report of IOM CwC activities launched for the Haiyan Humanitarian Response.  The assessment is based on 400 face-to-face interviews, as well as telephone interviews and focus group discussions with community members in Tacloban, the hardest hit community by Hiayan. It examines the communications preferences during the emergency and recovery phases, identifying radio as the most accessed and preferred media channel following the typhoon. The report also provides recommendations for ongoing and future communications campaigns in Haiyan-affected areas as well as significant insight of the importance of communications, information, feedback and accountability for effective humanitarian operations.

Print Quality Format


Press Release


Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines in November 2013, killing thousands and leaving over 300,000 people homeless.  To coordinate basic services in evacuation centres, IOM provided data on hundreds of displacement sites to partners on the ground through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), an information management tool that tracks the locations and needs of displaced people.

The Organization shared this data with government and humanitarian partners, and also with SAS, an American visual analytics company in a pro-bono pilot project.

Read more

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