Sara Sywulka and Tom Price have arrived in the Philippines to work in the Integral Hub office. They will be working to ensure effective coordination for the ongoing Integral response to Typhoon Haiyan …
Sara, the Team Leader, says, “Since we arrived, the focus has been on meeting with Integral Members and local partners to introduce myself and discuss why I’m here, getting input from them on how I can be supportive. This started in Manila and is continuing in Tacloban and surrounding areas.”
Tom, the Hub Communications Officer, says, “This week we travelled down to Tacloban to visit Integral Members World Renew, Food for the Hungry and Medair. We travelled to Guiuan, Dulag, Basey, Marabut, as well as various barangays within Tacloban City. I think the scale of it has hit me more than anything else. Almost wherever you travel around that coastal region, there are potent demonstrations of the typhoon’s power. And three months on, it is evident that there is a huge amount still to do.” Tom is available to provide photos, stories and video footage for any of the 18 Integral Members who are responding and fundraising for the response to Haiyan.
Integral Members and their partners are serving some of the communities most severely affected by Typhoon Haiyan, ensuring access to safe water, assistance with shelter, food and household items, as well as providing trauma counselling and child friendly spaces. Early on during coordination calls Members expressed a strong desire to deepen their work together and pledged support for an in-country multi-agency Integral team (a ‘Hub’) in the form of funds and/or staff. In November 2013 a Hub set up team, made up of five Integral Members, carried out the initial ground work in the Philippines to establish an office.
Tom says: “It’s been said countless times already, but the people that we’ve met have shown startling bravery, endurance and hope. We have been welcomed into the intimate difficulty of people’s situations and almost everyone has been eager to share their story and express their deep gratitude for the help they’ve received, it’s been a deeply humbling experience.”