Philippines Relief Hits $78.2 Million; Supplies Getting Through

November 18, 2013       Mark Hrywna      

A week after Typhoon Haiyan devastated parts of the Philippines, charities have raised more than $78.2 million in pledges and charitable contributions as they continue to send aid amid the devastation. And reports from various news agencies this morning showed aid finally making it to so of the more isolated areas.

The American Red Cross on Saturday increased its commitment by $5 million, to $11 million, for the typhoon response. The Washington, D.C.-based relief agency had raised nearly $27 million in donations and pledges but that figure has not been updated since Friday.

Among the largest totals reported by nonprofits in the first week were:

  • $11.2 million (as of Friday), Medécins Sans Frontières;
  • $7 million (Monday), U.S. Fund for UNICEF, which aims to raise $34 million for typhoon relief;
  • $6 million (Friday), World Vision, which has made a $20-million typhoon appeal;
  • $5.72 million (Friday), Catholic Relief Services; and,
  • $4.6 million (Thursday), C.A.R.E.

The estimate of $78.2 million is based on a survey of 18 charities but is far from complete, with at least a dozen more nonprofits surveyed either not responsive or no available estimate yet of funds raised. Other organizations, such as United Way Worldwide and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, are focusing fundraising efforts on mid- and long-term rebuilding. The running total likely has surpassed the $68 million in charitable contributions that was estimated some six days after an earthquake struck Japan in 2011.

Philanthropy experts often warn against comparing the responses between disasters because each is unique and different. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy estimated some $317 million in charitable contributions was raised. For instance, response to Haiti received a big boost – particularly via text donations – after First Lady Michelle Obama made an appeal for donations to relief agencies. The mGive Foundation reported nearly $43 million raised in text donations after Haiti, compared with $4.6 million after Japan and $8.7 million after Hurricane Sandy last year.

Social media websites were offering high-profile space on their websites to ask for donations for typhoon relief. Facebook featured a solicitation for the American Red Cross at the top of its news feed last week. Over the weekend Twitter highlighted at the top its news feeds a solicitation for donations to NetHope, a consortium of 41 nongovernmental organizations around the globe, which includes among its members some of the charities surveyed by The NonProfit Times.

Nations from around the world have promised aid as well, according to reports, including an initial $20-million pledge by the United States, as well as $28 million by Australia, $16 million by the United Kingdom, $10 million by Japan and nearly $2 million from New Zealand, among others.

Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on Nov. 8, doing some of the most damage in Tacloban, about 500 miles south of the capital city of Manila. Between 9 million and 13 million people were affected in 44 provinces, according to reports. Preliminary totals also estimate some $1 billion in damages and more than 4,000 dead.