HelpAge International helps up to 140,000 people in six months since Typhoon Haiyan

6 May 2014

In the Philippines: Carolyn Canham, HelpAge-COSE Communications Manager, +63 927 461 6034,

In London: Sarah Gillam, Media Relations Manager, HelpAge, on 0207 148 7623 or mobile +447713 567624

To make a donation: or 0370 60 60 900


Funds raised by donors across the world have assisted HelpAge International to reach more than 140,000 people in the six months since Typhoon Haiyan hit on 7 November 2013. (8.40pm GMT on 7 November 2013, 4.40am 8 November 2013 local time).

Aid has so far included:

  • Emergency food for almost 8,000 households in hard-to-reach communities
  • Cash grants for almost 16,000 households
  • Emergency shelter kits for 4,000 households
  • Rice and fertilizer for about 4,000 older farmers and fertilizer for about 3,500
  • Health check-ups and medical examinations with free access to one month's supply of appropriate medicines for more than 1,600 people in 36 remote communities in Leyte
  • Psychosocial support for almost 1,700 people in partnership with Mercy Malaysia.

"Many older people have still not fully rebuilt homes and livelihoods destroyed by the typhoon and it is essential that poor and vulnerable older people are included in ongoing recovery programmes," said Ian Clarke, HelpAge International's Emergency Programme Manager in the Philippines.

"Helping people get their lives and livelihoods back on track is going to take a long time and a lot of resources. The recovery process is only just beginning," he added.

HelpAge-COSE is committed to helping older people in the long-term with activities based on the needs identified in a recent informal survey of more than 7,000 older people. These include:

  • Helping older people rebuild livelihoods destroyed by the typhoon and addressing food security to meet daily needs
  • Helping older people access safe and secure shelter
  • Helping older people access basic health care
  • Promoting activities to address isolation and ensure older people understand how to access their rights

Older people's priorities

82% of older men and women named cash assistance as a main priority.

"Financial assistance allows older people to meet their immediate daily needs, and make rational choices about how to spend their money, whether it be on health care, rebuilding their home, replanting their crops, or rebuilding their small business," said Clarke.

The top five priorities were:

  • Financial assistance, with 82% of older men and women listing it as a priority
  • Shelter assistance, with 43% of women and 45% of men listing it as a priority
  • Food assistance, with 39% of women and 42% of men listing it as a priority
  • Health assistance, with 38% of women and 40% of men listing it as a priority
  • Livelihood support, with 25% of women and 30% of men listing it as a priority

"The significant proportion of older people who prioritise livelihood support is an important reminder that many older people want to work to support themselves, their families and their communities. Livelihood recovery programmes should ensure they include older people and age-friendly activities," he added.

The research is based on a UK Government Department for International Development-funded project where older volunteers visited more than 7,000 older people affected by Typhoon Haiyan to learn about their needs and priorities and inform them of their rights.

Six month anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan

The six-month anniversary and the HelpAge-COSE research comes as a timely reminder to include older people in every phase of an emergency response.

Key survey findings

  • 27% of older people received no shelter assistance and 66% said they received insufficient shelter assistance
  • Single women aged 80+ were the most excluded from shelter assistance, with 38% receiving no shelter assistance
  • 22% said food aid did not meet the needs of older people. For example those living with non-communicable diseases and who needed low salt or low sugar diets felt they were not being catered for well
  • 13% of older people said relief items were taken by their children
  • 67% of older women and 69% of older men said their health deteriorated following the disaster
  • 28% of older women and 26% of older men said they became sick following the disaster
  • 27% of older people could not afford medicine
  • 15% of older people could not afford medical consultations

About HelpAge International

HelpAge International helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives.

About the Coalition of Services of the Elderly

Founded in 1989 in the Philippines, the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE) bases its mission on the tradition of respecting older people and supporting community-based programmes. COSE helps older people to continue living in their communities and contributing to the lives of others.

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