When Super Typhoon Rai brought devastation to the Philippines in December 2021, many Filipino seafarers and their families were affected, suffering damage to their homes and destruction of their livelihoods.
December, 2021, one of the strongest storms of 2021 made a landfall in the southeastern Philippines. Super Typhoon Rai (locally named ‘Odette’) brought torrential rains, violent Category 5 winds with speeds of up to 160mph1, landslides, and storm surges to several provinces and the island of Palawan in Luzon where many seafarers and their families live.
According to reports, 10.8 million people were affected by the super typhoon, with 3 million people displaced.2
In response to the crisis, ISWAN received US $15,000 from The Seafarers’ Charity to disburse to 100 Filipino seafarers and their families affected by Super Typhoon Rai. Grants of US $150 would provide immediate relief to those suffering from food and water shortages, or needing care and hygiene kits or medicine.
ISWAN’s team in the Philippines immediately reached out to other welfare organisations – including The Mission to Seafarers, Sailors’ Society, Stella Maris, and Seamen's Christian Friend Society – to decide how they could coordinate to extend this assistance to those in need.
ISWAN provided grants to several families who had lost their homes or been evacuated, and to those who needed immediate food supplies such as water and food. For many families, there was no clean running water and the electricity supply was down across several provinces.
Celes, one of the seafarers who received financial support through ISWAN’s grants programme, said: ‘The typhoon was so strong that a lot of trees and poles were broken down. We don’t have electricity and power supply for weeks. Our home was also badly damaged.’
Another seafarer who received a grant from ISWAN was Ronald. His family’s home and small rice field, which was a source of income, were wiped out by the typhoon. He said: ‘It was heartbreaking to see that what you have worked so hard little by little, disappeared in a snap.’ The grant helped Ronald and his family rebuild their home (pictured at beginning of article).
ISWAN also provided financial support to Christopher, a seafarer from Bohol. His family’s home and small business were severely damaged by the typhoon, as was his mother’s house. He said to ISWAN’s team in the Philippines: ‘Thank you ISWAN. Your organization has been a great help to us during these trying times. I hope you will be able to reach and help more seafarers.’
ISWAN is here to support any seafarer or their family who finds themselves in a crisis. If you need help or support, you can contact our free, confidential, 24-hour helpline, SeafarerHelp, at any time – contact details can be found at www.seafarerhelp.org. Our helpline team will refer you to one of our international teams if there is someone in your region who can help.