2014 Humanitarian Hero Philip Raffilpiy

DUTY STATION: Marshall Islands
POSITION:  Head of Sub-Office

“Saving a child’s life or that of an older individual brings a sense of success and spiritual fulfilment.”

WHY DID YOU BECOME A HUMANITARIAN WORKER OR VOLUNTEER? 

To assist those who are in need due to natural and man-made disasters or emergencies in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Helping those in need can be quite challenging and can also involve safety concerns for humanitarian workers, but somebody has to step in and provide the necessary assistance to help people recover and return to normalcy. 

WHAT'S THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR WORK?

Seeing people get back on their feet through support and assistance whether provided locally, regionally, or internationally. Saving a child’s life or that of an older individual brings a sense of success and spiritual fulfilment. 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MORE CHALLENGING ASPECTS OF YOUR WORK?

Limited resources for transportation within the country are a major challenge. FSM has about 1 million square miles of area (land and water combined), which is about the size of continental United States, and consists of 607 small islands and atolls. Major storms and typhoons regularly affect this area. Just getting a humanitarian response to any affected islands is a major problem. 

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE WORK YOU DO? 

The International Organization for Migration in Micronesia is contracted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to operationalize and provide support to the US federal partners in meeting their responsibilities under the Compact Agreement with the FSM Government. The responsibilities are to provide humanitarian relief, recovery, and reconstruction during a declared disaster. So basically, the work I do consists of disaster preparedness, through awareness and trainings; supporting logistics by identifying critical resources; and working closely with local partners to strengthen their coping mechanisms and increase resiliency. 

WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED DURING YOUR WORK? 

The most memorable moment was the 2013 Drought Response in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). I had the chance to work closely with a number of international actors (IFRC, UNDP, IOM) to ensure that the northern islands and atolls of RMI recovered speedily from the drought. We worked together to address all of the needs for those affected islands.