Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Plan's Emergency Response Team: The Clean-Up Begins

Post by: Frank Manfredi, Director of Disaster Relief Management, Plan International USA from Tacloban, Philippines

My colleague and I preparing
Plan’s commodities for distribution.
Tacloban is completely in ruins. People have started to clean up, clearing debris and salvaging belongings, even as recovery continues. I saw an older gentleman sweeping debris off the sidewalk careful not to disturb the body in a white tarp awaiting collection. As grim as some of the scenes, just the fact that people have started getting on with the clean-up is hopeful.

Aid is now getting in. I spent Sunday at the airport with Plan’s Emergency Response Team loading supplies for delivery and distribution. There were dozens of C-130 flights from the U.S. military and the militaries of Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea and others. Most carried relief commodities, people to carry out aid work, or both.

Plan staff in Tacloban is working and sleeping in the office, which itself was flooded and suffered storm damage. In the male staff room, six of us slept on the floor. Many of the local area staff were themselves impacted, suffering losses during Haiyan. Still, here they were working.

A Plan-trained Emergency Response Team volunteer
hands this mother and her child water and hygiene kits.
Plan was able to get three pallets of family hygiene kits and water treatment kits onto a C-130 from Manila into Tacloban. In Tacloban, Plan scheduled a distribution at an evacuation center. On Sunday morning, we loaded up a truck from the pallets on the tarmac and sent a team to prepare for the distribution. More than 200 of each were distributed in that one evacuation center. Just a drop in the bucket, but it is a start . . .

Working with village level Emergency Response Team members trained through a Plan Disaster Risk Reduction program in the Eastern Visayas, we stored the remaining stock in the World Food Programme Mobile Storage Unit on the airport grounds for distribution in other nearby impacted areas.

On Sunday night, we were loaded onto a C-130 along with well over 150 others, mostly Filipinos evacuating from Tacloban. Some people seemed relieved, other apprehensive. Many just seemed shell-shocked or numb, heading into an uncertain future.


  1. Good job Frank and the team, all the best and keep up the good work!

  2. Good Job, Frank & Team. ALl the best and keep up the good work!