The Philippines


our impact

  • 3 projects
  • 18 partners
  • 59,154 people helped

Quick facts

  • 107,668,321 people
  • 18.4% living on less than USD $1.25/day
  • 91.8% don’t have access to safe water

Despite its classification as a middle income country, the Philippines has about 17 million people living below the poverty line. The country also has persistently high levels of inequality, and in regions such as Mindanao armed conflict threatens stability and development.

It’s also extremely vulnerable to natural disasters – such as Typhoon Haiyan – which devastated the Philippines with high speed winds and a tsumani-like storm surge on 8 November 2013.

Oxfam’s programs in the Philippines focus primarily on addressing economic inequality, promoting sustainable peace, and reducing disaster risk and preparing for disaster response.

Key areas of work

Economic Justice, Rights in Crisis, Disaster Risk Reduction

One story of change

Photo: Jane Beesley/Oxfam

Photo: Jane Beesley/Oxfam

When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines it killed over 6,000 people and displaced over four million.

Along with the one million homes destroyed or damaged by the typhoon, people lost essential and basic items needed for daily life. Forced to live in extremely challenging conditions, public health risks were high and there was a risk of sickness and disease spreading rapidly.

Oxfam’s distribution of hygiene kits and water kits allowed families to keep themselves clean and healthy even while displaced from their homes and communities.

Jerry cans and bottles of ‘Hyposol’ for disinfecting water ensured that people could access safe drinking water. Basic hygiene kits contained soap for personal use, household soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, underwear (pants) for women, men and children, bed sheets, mats, sanitary towels and ‘malong’ – pieces of cloth that can be worn.

People soon found many other practical uses for the ‘malong’, using them as a sheet to protect themselves from the sun or mosquitoes, as a face cloth or towel, or to cover their bodies to maintain dignity when washing outside.

‘I cried when I opened the bag. There were so many items. So many things we all need,’ said Vergie Ochia, one of the many people affected by the typhoon.

When asked for his feedback about the hygiene kits, Diego Bermiso  laughed and rubbed his arms up and down and said: ‘We can wash with bubbles!”


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