UUSC Statement on the UU@UN Office

Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

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UUSC on the Ground in the Philippines

November 26, 2013

Thanks to the generous outpouring of support, the UUSC-UUA Joint Philippines Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund has currently raised more than $400,000. These funds are already being translated into real on-the-ground relief for survivors of the devastating storm. This week UUSC is deploying Wendy Flick, the interim manager of UUSC’s Rights in Humanitarian Crises Program, to the region to develop effective relief strategies.

Visiting the most severely affected areas, Flick will gather firsthand information on what needs are most pressing, who is being left out of relief efforts, and how UUSC can put the relief funds to most effective use. As we’ve seen in previous natural disasters, existing inequalities are only deepened in the wake of such crises.

Flick will meet with our on-the-ground consultant to develop plans for how we can best provide assistance to affected people, especially those not being served by mainstream aid. She will be working closely with current partners and other nongovernmental organizations to identify gaps in the current relief efforts.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, UUSC has already provided financial support to the following grassroots organizations to make sure that people living in society’s margins aren’t excluded from assistance:

  • The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines, which is doing direct relief work in communities where people have lost crops, homes, and livelihoods
  • IBON International, a long-term UUSC partner, which is working with the Citizen’s Disaster Response Center to identify and bring much-needed support to people most marginalized by the mainstream relief efforts
  • The National Rural Women Coalition, which, with a wide network of community-based organizations of farmers and fisherpeople throughout the islands, is exceptionally well positioned to identify needs and assist survivors in recuperation of food security and livelihoods

While in the Philippines and in the follow-up to her trip, Flick will forge new partnerships in addition to those above, especially in the areas of child protection, trafficking, and gender-based violence.

Watch our 2010 video “When a Disaster Happens” to learn about UUSC’s approach to advancing rights during humanitarian crises:

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