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UK response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines makes the grade

UK-funded jerrycans being distributed by the NGO Plan International in the village of Santo Nino on Leyte island, Philippines, Saturday, 7 December 2013.
UK-funded jerrycans being distributed by the NGO Plan International in the village of Santo Nino on Leyte island, Philippines, December 2013.

Survey says, the UK did a very good job in its response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

At least that is what the Independent Commission for Aid Impact found when investigating the work of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). A green rating was given for the humanitarian support provided by DFID, the best possible rating. Not only that, the £77 million that the UK provided was more than any other country, even beating out the US.

“DFID responded swiftly and decisively to the emergency,” said Independent Commission for Aid Impact Chief Commissioner, Graham Ward. “It was the largest single donor and played a lead role in the response, providing vital humanitarian assistance to people in dire need. Its early and multi-faceted action helped to galvanize support from other donors and to influence the global humanitarian aid response.”

This represents only the third time that DFID has scored green in thirty-two reports. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact is an independent body that scrutinizes the UK’s foreign aid work. A team of investigators were sent out in January to determine how things went in the Philippines. Their findings that the UK was a leader in the response, but there is still more work to be done.

The report comes with the following three recommendations:

Recommendation 1: In the Philippines, DFID and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should support the Philippine Government’s reconstruction plan in strategic areas, such as climate change resilience.

Recommendation 2: DFID should build on the successes of this response to strengthen its leadership within the global humanitarian response systems and specifically of its stock-piling and logistics capacity.

Recommendation 3: DFID should use learning from this response to develop a clear strategy for humanitarian engagement where it has no in-country presence.

It is positive news for DFID after fairing poorly in recent reports for its work in Southern Africa and Afghanistan.

“DFID’s preparedness to respond, combined with the effective use of military assets and pace of decision-making meant that the UK was able to make an early and vital contribution to this international response,” said Mark Foster, Lead Commissioner for the review.

The report is one of the first to evaluate the response to the damage caused by the typhoon. More information should be made available in the coming months.


About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]