IsraAID’s International Experts Reach Typhoon-hit Philippines

Israeli humanitarian NGO continues response to Super Typhoon Rai/Odette 

Thursday 17 February 2022. For immediate release:

IsraAID, Israel’s leading non-governmental humanitarian aid organization, has dispatched a team of international emergency response experts to the Philippines to continue the organization’s response to December’s Super Typhoon Odette (known internationally as Rai). More than 10 million people have been affected across a wide swathe of the country, with 133,000 still displaced from their homes two months on and 1.9 million houses damaged or destroyed.

When the typhoon hit in mid-December, COVID-19 considerations meant the country was off-limits to foreign visitors. IsraAID launched an immediate response, assembling a local team of volunteers, including former IsraAID staff members, to bring urgent aid to communities in need. With ongoing travel restrictions hindering the humanitarian response to the typhoon, many affected communities have been left to survive with little outside support.

IsraAID’s team of international specialists, with expertise in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), protection, community resilience, and mental health, and emergency operations, landed in the country this week and have already begun work in the affected islands of Negros and Leyte. The team is installing safe water solutions in communities that have not had water access since the storm and working with community volunteers to strengthen long-term resilience.

IsraAID first launched its previous mission in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, concluding its programming in 2019. Returning now after Typhoon Odette, the organization is committed to supporting affected populations as they rebuild their lives, their communities, and their futures, together. IsraAID’s work in the Philippines is supported by American Jewish Committee, the Ted Arison Family Foundation, and Diane and Guilford Glazer Philanthropies. IsraAID is coordinating its emergency response in the Philippines with humanitarian actors and partners including JDC and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation.

Speaking in Southern Leyte, one of the regions heavily affected by the typhoon, Molly Bernstein, IsraAID’s Head of Mission in the Philippines, said:

“We arrived in the Philippines earlier this week and we have already seen countless examples of both extreme loss and incredible resilience. With the typhoon damaging coconut trees and destroying boats, households reliant on coconut farming and fishing have been left without the means to earn a living. Schools that had already stood empty for two years due to COVID-19 now need to be rebuilt before their students can return.

However, the affected communities are showing immense strength as they build back together, often with little access to outside support. That’s why we’re focusing on disaster resilience – helping communities build back in a way that ensures the structures and plans are in place for the next emergency. Here in the Philippines, it’s not a matter of if there will be another storm, but when, and we’re committed to being here with our partners for the long term to make sure these communities are ready.” 

IsraAID’s Emergency Fund ensures the organization can respond urgently to crises worldwide, including Typhoon Odette. Donations to support IsraAID’s disaster relief efforts can be made here.


Further information is available on request.

IsraAID’s team assess water provision in Southern Leyte. Credit: Dinah Gorra/IsraAID

IsraAID’s team check water quality in rural Negros island. Credit: Sunshine Escaro/IsraAID


Ethan Schwartz
Email: [email protected]