Archive for the ‘Philippines’ Category

PHILIPPINES: Assessment Conclusion

Friday, October 9th, 2009

After a one-week assessment in the Philippines, we have decided not to launch a HODR volunteer project in response to tropical storm/typhoon Ketsana. (Local name: Ondoy).

During the course of our assessment, we visited the most critical areas in terms of people affected and homes damaged/destroyed. (Local term: ocular inspection.) In the National Capital Region (NCR), Rizal, and Laguna provinces we observed wide swaths of area that were flooded, but once the water receded there was little structural damage. Government and the local population quickly moved forward with the short-term cleanup. Some neighborhoods are still flooded and are expected to remain so through the end of the year. These areas may need rehabilitation work in the months to come, but at present they are inaccessible, susceptible to further flooding, and the extent of damage is unknown. Riverside communities clearly suffered the most devastation. The rivers, swollen by heavy rains, jumped their banks and powered through whatever stood in their path. Sadly, these areas are primarily inhabited by “informal settlers,” non-landowners who have made their homes in flood-prone areas. Instead of supporting rebuilding in the same place, the government and NGO community seek to relocate these families to safer areas. The issue of exactly how to go about this procedure of relocation is complex, long term, and beyond the scope of traditional HODR programs.

When HODR looks to establish a project, we try to identify opportunities that leverage our unique strength – you, our volunteers. As a result, our programs produce tangible recovery benefits for affected communities and rewarding work experiences for volunteers. There has been suffering and damage here and there is even an ongoing need. However, the remaining needs are not in an area that HODR is well-suited to address.

We’d like to thank all of our friends and partners on the ground in the Philippines. Your valuable time and generous assistance allowed us to conduct this assessment quickly and effectively.

Next up is our “on the ground” assessment of the Sumatra earthquake in Indonesia. We hope that you will continue to follow our progress there.

As always, thank you for your support!

PHILIPPINES: Assessment Video Update

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

HODR dispatched an assessment team to the Philippines on Oct 3, 2009 in the wake of record flooding from tropical storm Ketsana/Ondoy. Here, the team reports on their findings during their first three days on the ground.

You can continue to follow the assessment team’s progress via Twitter and flickr.

HODR is accepting donations for our South Pacific Disaster Recovery Fund.

Updated Oct. 12: HODR Launches South Pacific Emergency Appeal

Friday, October 2nd, 2009


For more information please contact:
Beca Howard, Communications Manager

CARLISLE, MA, 10/12/09 — Within the span of five days the South Pacific was been devastated by a string of natural disasters. Hands On Disaster Response (HODR) is on the ground in Indonesia and the Samoan Islands, and has launched a fundraising appeal to support the recovery efforts. HODR, a recently accepted National VOAD Member, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of volunteers to bring direct assistance to survivors of natural disasters both in the US and around the world.

The organization’s South Pacific Disaster Recovery Fund aims to raise $250,000 toward the recovery efforts following the recent series of disasters.

“There’s a tremendous amount of suffering in the South Pacific right now after the recent string of disasters. Fortunately, we have experience in two of the affected areas having run successful campaigns to address the needs in 2006 following a super-typhoon in the Philippines and an earthquake in Indonesia,” says Marc Young, International Operations Director for HODR.

HODR projects organize volunteer work to meet the unique needs of the community, and can include everything from debris removal to rebuilding homes and schools. On the organization’s 2006 deployment to the Philippines volunteers rebuilt and renovated elementary school and daycare facilities, built fishing boats to restore the livelihood of fishing villages, and dug out nearly 150 homes buried by the mudflows. HODR’s 2006 Indonesian earthquake response mainly focused on rubble removal and salvaging materials, which residents quickly used to rebuild.

South Pacific Tsunami
On September 29 a powerful 8.0 earthquake created a series of tsunami waves that struck American Samoa, Western Samoa, and a small northern island in Tonga. Some of the waves are estimated to have been as high as 6 meters (more than 19 feet) high, and initial estimates show that as many as 15,000 people have been affected.

Sumatra Earthquake
On September 30 a devastating 7.6 earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra and within 24 hours a second earthquake of magnitude 7.0 hit, causing further damage on the stricken island.

HODR assessment teams in both the Samoan Islands and Indonesia are meeting with local officials, visiting affected areas and evaluating the recovery needs in order to determine further involvement and the potential for volunteer projects.

For more information and updates visit and follow the HODR field teams on Twitter:

To support HODR’s South Pacific Disaster Recovery Fund please visit

PHILIPPINES: Typhoon Assessment – On the Ground

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

A HODR assessment team is on the ground in the Philippines following severe flooding from Typhoon/Tropical Storm Ketsana (local name: Ondoy). International Operations Director Marc Young and Project Director Stefanie Chang arrived in Manila on Sunday, October 4. The team is visiting the affected areas, meeting with local government units, and seeking to build partnerships within the NGO community. We are also monitoring the earthquake and tsunami situations in Indonesia, American Samoa and Western Samoa, and will determine further action in response to those disasters over the next several days as information becomes available.

Typhoon Ketsana inundated central Luzon on Saturday, September 27, 2009, and an extensive area has experienced unprecedented flooding. The National Disaster Coordinating Council reports that nearly 2 million people have been affected as authorities work to assess damages to thousands of homes.

If you’re interested in volunteering at a potential Philippines response project, we encourage you to email Tom at If you have Philippines contacts that may help in our assessment, please send them to

Thanks for your support! In addition to watching this space for updates, you can also follow the assessment team on the ground at Twitter at HODRopsIN.