Relief agencies from all over the world went to the Philippines after Haiyan hit, laying the foundation for rebuilding. One of the responders is an organization based here in Houston. Members of International Emergency and Development Aid, IEDA Relief, appeared on KUHF’s Houston Matters to discuss the effects of the typhoon.
Michael Kahlenberg responded to other disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but he said he wasn’t prepared for what he saw.
“It was an eye opening experience. You know if you look at it, we walk around and it’s everywhere. It’s up, it’s down, it’s to the left of us, to the right, the smells, the dust. You can’t see it or feel it from television. You’re reading about it, getting there is a completely different event.”
Colleague Azmine Nimji says she arrived to find many people in need of help.
“They are very accustomed to being exposed to severe weather. But when it comes to decimating their livelihood, their actual home and having to relocate, whether it’s temporary or for long term, having to find a new livelihood… For example, a fisherman has to learn to do something else now.”
IEDA helps lay the foundation that helps victims recover as quickly as they can, but Nimji says that can be challenging.
“It is never going to be easy for any human being to face something like this. However, the moment you introduce education in schools, and teach the children to understand that this is something that they will have to build for — you’re looking at an integrated approach to rebuilding and to recovery.”
Officials say it will likely take years for the damaged nation to rebound.