Looking back at Canada’s response to Typhoon Haiyan


With all the talk over Canadian trash in the Philippines, now might be a good time to remember what Canada has done for the Philippines in the past. Perhaps a more tempered approach can be considered when talking about the current situation. Let’s all look back and remember Canada’s response to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

typhoon haiyan
A CH-146 Griffin Helicopter, flies over the province of Capiz, Philippines on November 24, 2013 days after the area was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the largest typhoons on record. Corporal Darcy Lefebvre, Canadian Forces Combat Camera Photographer IS2013-6014-05

Typhoon Haiyan: November 8, 2013

It was Friday, November 8, 2013 when a Category 5 typhoon made landfall in the Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded. It caused landslides, as well as knocking out power and communications in several provinces.

The Philippines is no stranger to strong typhoons, going through an average of 20 per year. The peak of typhoon season is July through October, when almost 70% of typhoons happening during this period.

Typhoon Haiyan (locally called Yolanda) affected more than 16 million Filipinos. Before it was all over, the typhoon had claimed more than 28,600 lives, displacing more than 4.1 million Filipinos across 57 cities. Over 1.14 million houses were destroyed.

Canada was part of a coordinated international effort that gave humanitarian assistance in the wake of the typhoon.

The Government of Canada (under the leadership of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper) had provided more than $90.5 million in humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

This included the amount matched by the Government of Canada, in addition to $85.5 million donated by everyday Canadians through organizations under the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund.

The Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund was established by the Government of Canada to encourage everyday Canadians to support humanitarian, reconstruction and recovery efforts in the Philippines.

typhoon haiyan
A medical group from the Canadian Armed Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team proceeds with patient triage during Operation RENAISSANCE, in Sara, Philippines on November 26, 2013. Photo: MCpl Marc-Andre Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera IS2013-2006-106

What kind of humanitarian assistance did Canada provide the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan?

Working with its partners in the Philippines, the Government of Canada provided the Philippines with:

  • emergency food assistance to more than 3.7 million Filipinos
  • supplementary nutrition for more than 190,000 Filipino children
  • emergency shelters for over 570,000 Filipino families
  • financial assistance for essential household items for more than 1.4 million Filipinos
  • paid employment for 162,000 Filipino workers who helped clear debris
  • learning material for 545,00 Filipino students
  • temporary learning spaces for 4,900 Filipino students
  • child friendly spaces for 285 Filipino children
  • vaccinations for more than 2.3 million Filipino children
  • hygiene kits for more than 1.9 million Filipinos
  • access to working latrines for more than 350,000 Filipinos
  • training for the prevention of gender-based violence for 111,000 Filipinos
  • agricultural seeds and equipment for 103,000 Filipino farmers
  • assistance to build and repair fishing boats and equipment for 24,000 Filipino fishermen

typhoon haiyan
Local citizens help Royal Canadian Air Force personnel to unload construction materials for building homes, from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter during Operation RENAISSANCE, on Olotayan Island, Philippines on November 30, 2013. Photo: MCpl Marc-Andre Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera Des citoyens de l’île d’Olotayan (Philippines) aident le personnel de l’Aviation royale canadienne à décharger des matériaux destinés à la construction de maisons d’un hélicoptère CH146 Griffon, le 30 novembre 2013, dans le cadre de l’opération Renaissance. Photo : Cplc Marc-Andre Gaudreault, Caméra de combat des Forces canadiennes IS2013-2006-155

What else did the Government of Canada do after Typhoon Haiyan?

The Government of Canada also provided support for the Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit deployed to support the Ormoc District Hospital in Leyte, which suffered extensive damage during the typhoon.

The Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit provided surgical, paediatric an post-part up in-patient care in the aftermath of the typhoon.

Over 1,200 Filipinos received care from the Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit, including delivering 418 babies and performing 114 surgeries.

8 specially trained humanitarian experts from Canada were also deployed to provide support to the Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit. The Government of Canada provided relief stocks which included tents, shelter and hygiene kits as well as other emergency relief supplies.

typhoon haiyan
Master Corporal Stephane Fortin, medical technician for the 2nd Canadian Field Ambulance, Petawawa, and member of the Canadian Armed Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team, examines the tonsils of a local child during Operation RENAISSANCE, in Sara, Philippines on November 21, 2013. Photo: MCpl Marc-Andre Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera IS2013-2006-054

Typhoon Haiyan: Canadian Armed Forces Operation Renaissance 13-1

319 Canadian soldiers were sent to the Philippines to assist during the recovery efforts following Typhoon Haiyan. The Canadian Forces’ Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was in the Philippines from November 13, 2013 to December 15, 2013.

Under Operation Renaissance 13-1, members of the Canadian Forces did the following:

  • provided engineering to help clear debris and reopen roads, reestablish the electrical system, and to check for damage on structures such as bridges
  • set up water purification systems
  • organized mobile medical teams who treated injuries at evacuation centres
  • flew by helicopter in reconnaissance missions and brought personnel to isolated areas
  • provided air transport
  • provided logistics in support of humanitarian supply delivery
  • provided liaison services with local authorities and international aid organizations

At the end of the day, Operation Renaissance 13-1 had accomplished the following:

  • 500,000 litres of water purified
  • 6,525 Filipinos treated for injuries
  • 357 hours of reconnaissance by helicopter
  • 828 Filipinos transported by helicopter
  • 104,546 kgs of food delivered
  • 4,683 kgs of emergency shelters and building supplies delivered
  • 27,000 kgs of humanitarian assistance supplies delivered
  • 131 kms of roads cleared
  • 14 construction projects completed
  • 8 power generators repaired.

Operation Renaissance 13-1 used the following equipment during the mission:

  • CC-144 Challenger
  • CC-150 Polaris
  • CC-177 Globemaster III
  • CH-146 Griffon helicopters
  • Light Support Service Vehicle Wheeled Command Post
  • Light Support Service Vehicle Wheeled Ambulance
  • Light Support Service Vehicle Wheeled Cargo
  • Multi-purpose Engineering Vehicle
  • Rough Terrain Fork Lift
  • Heavy Engineering Support Vehicle with Palletized Load System
  • Medium Logistics Vehicle Wheeled
  • Heavy Logistics Vehicle Wheeled Bowser

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