Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) is one of the strongest storms to ever hit land. Thousands of people have been killed; hundreds of thousands of homes have been destroyed; millions are at risk. We estimate that approximately 1.3 million older people have been affected by the typhoon.
The typhoon crashed into the Philippines in the early hours of 8 November. Pitch black, it was difficult enough to flee in darkness, let alone when contending with crashing waves and gushing winds. Imagine if on top of that, you are a frail, older person. How do you escape? And then when you are in a place of safety, how do you get aid that suits your needs?
Older people are particularly at risk
Older women and men are particularly at risk in emergencies. They are the ones least able to flee quickly; and the ones most likely to need support. They often cannot run; they cannot carry possessions – such as blankets and clothes to keep themselves warm and dry. They cannot queue for long periods for aid. They cannot rebuild their homes alone. They are often excluded from cash-for-work programmes, in the erroneous belief that they are no longer working. For many agencies, older people remain invisible.
Not for us. We seek out older people. We ask them what they need. And then we deliver ‘age-friendly’ emergency relief. That sounds like jargon, but it’s really quite simple. Continue reading “Older people affected by Typhoon Haiyan”