Last weekend marked the anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones in recorded history. On 8 November 2013, the Philippines felt the full force of the typhoon, which caused widespread destruction and resulted in over six thousand lost lives and an estimated 14 million people affected.
The sheer scale of destruction caused by the typhoon required a huge and challenging relief effort involving communities, local authorities, the Philippine Government and international actors. One year on from the typhoon, relief and recovery efforts continue. An estimated 2.5 million people remain without proper housing, and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that 20,000 of the 4.1 million people displaced by the disaster still live in 56 displacement sites across typhoon-affected areas.
In the immediate aftermath of the typhoon, a number of government donors were quick to offer assistance and pledge financial support for the relief effort. Five days after the typhoon first made landfall, the UN launched an appeal requesting US$301 million, which was revised up to US$348 million two weeks later. In December 2013, the original appeal was incorporated into the Typhoon Haiyan Strategic Response Plan (SRP), which requested a total of US$791 million to support and complement the Philippine Government’s response and recovery efforts in the forthcoming year.
Eleven months on from the launch of the Typhoon Haiyan SRP, funding to the appeal totals US$468 million – 60% of the total requested. While this is one of the better funded appeals in 2014, funding noticeably peaked in the months immediately after the typhoon and has been close to a standstill since June 2014.
The majority of funding for the appeal (77%) came in the first two months of the emergency. In December 2013, following the launch of the US$791 million SRP, 46% of the funding requirements had been met. In the first four months of 2014 there was a slow and steady increase in funding, but since April contributions to the appeal have been minimal. From June onwards, just US$6 million has been allocated to the appeal and the proportion of requirements met has remained at 60%.
Figure 1: Timeline of funding to Typhoon Haiyan UN appeal
Source: UNOCHA FTS data. Note: Requirements in November 13 were US$348 million. In the following months requirements total US$791 million.
An analysis of funding to the Typhoon Haiyan SRP shows clear disparities in the proportion of requirements met across the different clusters. The cluster with the highest requirements – the ‘Food Security and Agriculture’ cluster – has received 72% of requested funding (US$182 million). In comparison, the ‘Early Recovery and Livelihoods’ cluster, the 3rd largest in terms of requirements at US$115 million, has received just 29% of requested funding, the lowest of all clusters.
Figure 2: Typhoon Haiyan appeal funding to the top five requesting clusters
Source: UNOCHA FTS.
The SRP states that “rapid solutions to revive livelihoods and place the communities on the right path is a key humanitarian intervention”. While the restoration and creation of resilient livelihoods features prominently in the SRP, the low levels of funding for the early recovery and livelihoods cluster could indicate that it hasn’t been a priority for resource allocation thus far. However, it may be the case that resilience approaches are being mainstreamed within food, shelter, health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities, something that is not apparent from the available data.
Whatever the extent to which humanitarian assistance is being used to finance resilience approaches it is clear that there is a need for development assistance to support the transition from early recovery to longer term approaches. The data, however, does not allow us to track such funding from development rather than humanitarian budgets. This gap in the data means we lack a systematic way of keeping track of national and international funding against requirements and ensuring that donors honour the financial pledges that they make to support medium to longer term recovery.