THE importance of building on lessons learned in previous large-scale crisis situations such as the Haiti earthquake, together with a desire for good coordination of the ongoing response to the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, formed the basis of a partnership conference hosted by The Salvation Army's The Philippines Territory. The conference, timed to take place as the immediate emergency response comes to its natural conclusion, met to discuss how the continuum of response from emergency to early recovery and development could best be managed.
Hosted by territorial leadership and facilitated by staff from International Headquarters' Emergency Services and Projects and Development teams, the conference was attended by territorial officers and lay staff from The Philippines as well as representatives from Salvation Army donors including the Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO) from the USA, and the Australia Eastern, Canada and Bermuda, and Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Territories.
An important element of the conference was a field visit to Tacloban, where the group met with local Salvation Army corps (church) personnel who had responded sacrificially during the crisis. Helpful conversations took place with the Mayor of the Municipality of Dulag and the head of the cluster group in Tacloban which has responsibility for people's livelihoods.
Delegates agreed that the resilience of the Filipino people in the face of Typhoon Haiyan (or Typhoon Yolanda as it is known in The Philippines) was remarkable. The governmental structures were working well, and Salvation Army officers and soldiers have been doing excellent work, often with limited resources. The plans which are being developed as a result of the partnership conference will assist The Salvation Army in its ongoing response to the disaster.
Report by Major Ray Brown
International Emergency Services Coordinator