Humanitarian crisis in the Philippines — Canada's Response to Typhoon Haiyan

Humanitarian crisis in the Philippines - Canada's Response to Typhoon Haiyan




"The people I met and the images I saw during my short stay in the Philippines will stay with me forever. I will always be impressed by the resilience and perseverance of the Philippine people and I will always be proud of Canada's response and the difference our efforts are making on the ground."

- Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie

Government of the Philippines

Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines

"I think there will be a lot of work for the Canadian team there. I'm really struck with extreme appreciation of the extraordinary generosity from Canada, from the government and from the ordinary people."

- Leslie Gatan, Philippine Ambassador to Canada, Globe and Mail.


Action Against Hunger

“For the people of the Philippines, life changed in an instant when Typhoon Haiyan struck. Thousands of individuals survived but now face massive challenges rebuilding their communities, homes and careers. This is the next phase of ACF emergency response: helping to re-build livelihoods, rehabilitate water systems, and institute longer-term programs to prevent malnutrition.”

“With funds from the Government of Canada, Action Against Hunger is now focused on helping to restore livelihoods and improve health among the highly vulnerable communities of Panay and Leyte. Canada’s support will directly help approximately 115,000 affected people re-establish their livelihoods including farms and markets, and re-gain access to clean water and sanitation.”

“Despite the tragic circumstances, Action Against Hunger field staff witnessed a spirit of determination and collaboration from those affected by the disaster. Beneficiaries were actively involved in our recovery efforts, whether helping hand out therapeutic food rations or assisting with the set-up of clean water systems. We were inspired by this resilience and simultaneously proud of Canadians’ overwhelming generosity. Together we will continue our efforts to make life better for survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.”

- Susanne Courtney, Executive Director of Action Against Hunger .

CARE Canada

"Typhoon Haiyan affected more than 14 million people and destroyed more than 1.1 million houses. Shelter is a huge need. With the Government of Canada’s support, CARE is providing shelter material and technical advice to families whose homes were heavily damaged or destroyed. But beyond helping people survive the initial disaster, this assistance is helping families begin the longer journey of recovery from this devastating storm by rebuilding their homes, their communities and their lives."

- Carmen Tremblay, Senior Emergency Program Manager, CARE Canada. Ms. Tremblay was deployed to the Philippines as CARE’s Team Leader for one month.

"One only needs to see the progress made in three short months to know the impact of assistance from the Government of Canada, the Canadian public and NGOs like CARE in the Philippines. This generous support, coupled with the Filipino sense of organization, community spirit and optimism have literally transformed communities that were completely devastated on November 8, into ones that are newly revitalized and filled with hope. The improvements in home construction, establishment of more secure and diverse livelihoods and better warning systems all will contribute to a safer future for the Philippines. I am proud of the role Canada played in this response and admire the Filipinos for their irrepressible sense of spirit."

- Gillian Barth, President and CEO, CARE Canada. Ms Barth travelled to the Philippines.

Doctors Without Borders

"I spoke with a young couple who'd relocated to the emergency camp with their two-year-old infant. They were incredibly grateful for the tent."

- Jean-Sébastien Matte, DWB Emergency Field Coordinator.

"Within an hour or so of each distribution, the community would erupt with the sound of hammering as residents immediately set to work covering their roofs to shelter from the rains. I've never seen a group of people so thankful for assistance."

- Sara Badiei, DWB logistician.

OXFAM Canada

"Natural disasters cause enormous damage in hours or days, but putting people’s lives and livelihoods back together takes months and years. It’s easy to forget the suffering of people after an event like Typhoon Haiyan fades from the media headlines, but Oxfam intends to stay the course. We have helped farmers clear the land of fallen coconut trees for replanting and process the fallen trees into lumber, supported fisherpeople to rebuild their broken boats and provided start-up capital for small businesses. Overall we have reached almost 550,000 people with relief, including clean water to more than 200,000 people in Tacloban."

- Ann Witteveen, Humanitarian Manager at Oxfam Canada.

"It’s been immensely challenging to get aid through, but the response, both from the people of the Philippines and the international community, has been amazing." "Our main concern now is supporting rural communities who have not received anything like adequate assistance yet and making sure people are able to quickly rebuild their homes, infrastructure and livelihoods, in a way that will make them more resilient to future shocks."

- Justin Morgan, Oxfam's Country Director in the Philippines.

Plan Canada

"The needs of Typhoon Haiyan survivors continue to be great, but I am encouraged by the difference that collective and coordinated Canadian humanitarian efforts are having. Thanks to the swift and generous support of Canadians, Plan has supported hundreds of thousands of children and their families. Canadian support has helped provide nutritious food and clean water, hygiene kits to help survivors maintain their dignity and protect them from disease, psychosocial support for children who need to heal from their experiences, and school supplies to help children return to their studies. I am proud of the caring and support that Canadians have shown to those affected."

- Rosemary McCarney, Plan Canada, CEO & President.

"Having seen the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan first hand, I know that even while Canadian aid has been getting to those in need, it will be years before the some 13 million people affected can fully recover and return to a ‘normal’ life. Canadians have generously responded to survivors’ immediate needs for food, shelter, water and medicine. We need to continue that support so we can help survivors rebuild a nation, one family at a time."

- Rosemary McCarney, Plan Canada, CEO & President.

"The scale and scope of this disaster is staggering. When I arrived in Tacloban, Plan staff told me to be ready for what looked like the aftermath of a nuclear bomb. We drove for about 10 hours one day along the Eastern Samar coast and almost nothing was left standing. Canadian support has been instrumental in helping meet the immediate needs of children and families for food, water, shelter and medicine. The survivors are tired and the task in front of them remains daunting, but everyone I spoke to was buoyed by the global outpouring of support, of which Canadians have played a significant part. It will take a continued effort on the part of Canadians and our humanitarian partners to help the survivors as they rebuild their lives."

- Rosemary McCarney, Plan Canada, CEO & President.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

"Comparing Typhoon Haiyan with the 2004 tsunami, the death toll is much lower, but almost five times as many people have been affected"

- Bernd Schell, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) country representative.

"We plan on helping communities to rebuild their lives over the next three to four years."

- Bernd Schell, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) country representative.


"To say the situation was bleak is an understatement and Canadians responded strongly to the initial call for help, with a flurry of donations to UNICEF and other organizations which helped us provide emergency medical care and get clean water supplies in place quickly."

- David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO.

"Canadians have a commendable history of being quick to contribute to relief efforts when disaster strikes around the world.Thanks to the donations we’ve received, we can safely say today that there is hope for the future. I have seen it in the incredible spirit of the Philippine people, who are determined to rebuild their lives."

- David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO.

"The Canadian government and Canadians have shown their incredible generosity in the immediate aftermath of Haiyan, donating approximately $5.3 million to UNICEF Canada for the emergency relief appeal. The tents and other emergency response measures have helped, and we will continue to support the longer term rebuilding of schools and homes and communities because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive."

- David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO.

World Vision Canada

"During my visit to the Philippines last November, I saw firsthand evidence of the vulnerability of children during a natural disaster. With the support of the Government of Canada, World Vision Canada has been able to help children that were traumatized by the typhoon by setting up our “Child-friendly Spaces.” These spaces give children the chance to play, gather with friends and to process their grief through story-telling, role-playing and games in a safe and caring environment."

- Michael Messenger, Executive Vice President of Word Vision Canada.

Related Links


When Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, on November 8, 2013, Canada was already putting in place the pieces that made possible a rapid, life-saving, whole-of-government response in support of the Philippine’s Government.

The Government of Canada’s immediate response to the typhoon is highlighted here. The photos, videos and stories also profile the aptness of Canada’s intervention and demonstrate the life-saving work of Canada’s partners (Typhoon Haiyan Partners), who were on the ground in the aftermath of the storm that resulted in:

  • 6,300 deaths;
  • 28,689 people injured;
  • 16 million people affected;
  • 4.1 million people displaced;
  • 1.14 million houses damaged.

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Humanitarian Assistance

  • Within the first two weeks following the typhoon, $20 million of Canada’s assistance to the Typhoon response was disbursed to UN agencies, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Canadian non-governmental organizations that provided assistance to meet urgent food, water and sanitation, emergency shelter, medical and basic household needs
  • Canada established the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund to match eligible donations between November 9 and December 23 of individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities responding to this crisis
  • Canada supported the deployment of a Canadian Red Cross Field Hospital based in Ormoc (Leyte Province), as well as a donation to three Canadian humanitarian organizations from the DFATD emergency stockpile, which included tents, shelter kits, hygiene kits and other emergency relief items
  • With DFATD support, humanitarian partners were able to send eight Canadian humanitarian experts to support Red Cross and United Nations humanitarian operations in Philippines, including:
    • Canadian Red Cross to deploy one Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT) Canadian delegate to support the overall Red Cross response in the Philippines
    • CANADEM to deploy six Canadian humanitarian delegates to provide short-term surge support to key United Nations organizations
    • United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team to deploy a Canadian humanitarian delegate as part of a multi-national UNDAC team to provide assessment and coordination support to humanitarian agencies and the Philippines government

Other Key Results

The Government of Canada as well as other donors have been supporting humanitarian organizations for the provision of assistance to people affected by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines. Key results achieved include:

  • 0 significant public health outbreaks;
  • 3.7 million people reached with food assistance;
  • 2.3 million children vaccinated;
  • 1.9 million people benefitted from hygiene kits;
  • 1.4 million people received financial assistance to procure essential household items, rebuild their homes and restore their livelihoods;
  • 570,000 households provided with emergency shelters;
  • 545,000 children received learning materials;
  • 350,000 people provided with access to new or fixed latrines;
  • 190,000 children received supplementary feeding;
  • 158,000 households provided with durable roofing solutions;
  • 162,000 vulnerable workers benefitted from paid debris clearing work;
  • 111,000 people trained to lower the incidence of gender-based violence;
  • 103,000 farmers provided with agricultural seeds and tools;
  • 24,000 fishermen assisted with boat building and repairs;
  • 4,900 temporary learning spaces created; and,
  • 285 child-friendly spaces established.

Consular Affairs

  • Officials in Ottawa and at the Embassy in the Philippines mobilized before the typhoon struck to provide Canadian citizens with updated travel information and advice via and to contact Canadian citizens in the affected area using the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) Service.
  • In the aftermath of the typhoon, the Embassy in Manila and the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre (EWRC) in Ottawa worked tirelessly to reach out to Canadians thought to be in the affected region.
  • In the Philippines, consular teams travelled to areas affected by the typhoon to determine the wellbeing of Canadian citizens and to provide assistance. Of note, consular officials assisted Canadians departing Talcoban on allied military flights, greeted and provided consular support to those arriving in Manila from affected areas, and worked alongside the DART in Roxas City to assist Canadians in that area.
  • Members of the DFATD's Standing Rapid Deployment Team and employees from nearby missions supported operations at the Embassy of Canada in Manila and conducted outreach efforts in other affected areas of the country
  • At the EWRC, surge staff were brought in to respond to the over 700 calls and emails from concerned Canadians. By maintaining contact with families in Canada and in the Philippines, officials were able to gather information to assist in the search for Canadians. EWRC staff used all available means to reach out to affected Canadians – from calls, emails and text messages, to coordinating efforts with response workers conducting searches on the ground.

National Defence

  • The Canadian Armed Forces deployed 319 personnel (Operation RENAISSANCE 13-1), with a range of specialities, the majority coming from the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), to the Philippines
  • Among the many results by the end of the mission, Task Force Philippines had:
    • purified nearly 500,000 litres of water for distribution
    • treated 6,525 medical patients
    • delivered approximately 230,485 pounds of food and 10,325 pounds of shelter and building materials on behalf of non-governmental organizations
    • delivered approximately 59,536 pounds of humanitarian assistance goods on behalf of local authorities
    • cleared 131 km of roads

Citizenship and Immigration

  • As of April 1, 2014, the total number of approved applications (in persons) from Filipinos affected by the Typhoon was 1,097. 245 of those are Temporary Resident applications and 852 are Permanent Resident applications, which includes immigration related adoptions.
  • On November 13, Canada announced it would prioritize the processing of applications on request from Filipinos who were significantly and personally affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
  • Requests for extensions from visitors, international students and temporary foreign workers who wished to extend their stay were assessed in a compassionate and flexible manner.
  • Canadians without travel documents as a result of the typhoon had their applications expedited by the Canadian Embassy in Manila
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) set up a special email address and a dedicated phone line to respond to requests from applicants and their families.

Public Health Agency of Canada

  • Since November 2013, five Public Health Agency of Canada disease investigation specialists (epidemiologists) have been mobilized to the Philippines at different times to support the Government of Canada response.
  • The epidemiologists were mobilized as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) "Global Outbreak Alert Response Network", or GOARN, that continues to be on the ground supporting the Philippines National Department of Health.
  • Working with the WHO to support a coordinated health response, PHAC epidemiologists have assisted the Philippines National Department of Health to identify, assess and make recommendations to mitigate potential risks to public health in the wake of this disaster.
  • PHAC epidemiologists have also assisted with the coordination of patient evacuation and care, advised on forward actions and priorities to restart public health programs, liaised with other aid organizations in support of the United Nations Health Cluster and assisted local health response teams to collect, analyse and interpret health data from many different sources for both rapid decision making and forward planning.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

  • Two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers travelled to the Philippines in November to join five other international experts to form an INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Incident Response Team.
  • The INTERPOL team visited areas impacted by the typhoon and met with various government authorities and departments to determine the level of local DVI capacity.
  • They spent two weeks in the region to make a joint assessment to assist the local government in determining potential methods of identifying the disaster victims in a manner consistent with INTERPOL DVI standards.