Since UUSC and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) announced the UUSC-UUA Philippines Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund, scores of people have opened their hearts and their wallets to provide vital support in this time of crisis. Your generosity is deeply appreciated, and UUSC and the UUA will honor that generosity by putting it to strategic use in delivering aid and assistance to survivors of this storm of historic proportions.
UUSC's approach in disaster relief is based on a human rights approach to social justice and an eye-to-eye partnership model. This model has been honed and proven effective over many years of response to humanitarian disasters, both natural and man-made. In the wake of the devastating typhoon, UUSC is working closely with a network of partners and colleagues in the Philippines to identify and support survivors who are falling through the cracks of traditional relief efforts.
The region that was hardest hit by the typhoon already had 40 percent of its population living below the poverty line before the storm. In addition to loss of life, which now numbers in the thousands, Filipinos experienced massive loss of crops and livelihoods, which will likely take years to recuperate. Through its human rights lens, UUSC realizes that the impact of these losses will be exacerbated for survivors who are marginalized by factors such as gender, race, class, or religion.
In the coming weeks and months, UUSC will be partnering with grassroots groups who are devising innovative solutions to support these survivors who may be overlooked or excluded in the recovery efforts. UUSC will also employ its own lessons learned and models created with partners in response to previous disasters in other parts of the world.
One example: UUSC is already working with its long-term partner the Trauma Resource Institute (TRI) to mobilize a group of trainers to address trauma recovery and to build trauma resiliency in the affected communities. TRI will be training a cadre of social workers and community leaders who work with the most marginalized survivors. A similar program following the Haiti earthquake not only helped individuals and communities get back on their feet but gave them skills to build long-term resiliency to future trauma.