Order Out of Chaos

Houses on the shoreline of Guiuan, where building of houses is deemed unsafe. © IOM 2014 (Photo: Alan Motus)

By IOM Director General William Lacy Swing

Today, May 8, marks six months since Typhoon Haiyan wreaked untold devastation across the Central Philippines. This largest storm in history provoked an appropriately powerful humanitarian response, led by the Philippine government and supported closely by IOM, and by many individuals through private donations and through their taxes which allowed governments to support our work.

As part of IOM's commitment to accountability and dialogue with disaster-affected populations, we are today launching a new multimedia project, entitled "Typhoon Haiyan: Portraits of Recovery". This allows individuals from across the Visayas region to tell their own stories in the aftermath of the typhoon. This testimony of people displaced by the storm surge and those who subsequently migrated away is being published as a limited edition book. We will send this as a gift to individuals who donate more than US$50  via our website to support IOM’s ongoing  help to still vulnerable people.

The book and website tell stories of extraordinary courage and perseverance, often in the face of overwhelming personal tragedy. They can be seen here on a state-of-the-art  new website focused on highlighting their stories, not ours. Around the world IOM staff are known for listening carefully to those we serve, paying particular attention to ensuring that the aid we provide is appropriate and that the most vulnerable are prioritized. The stories presented in "Typhoon Haiyan: Portraits of Recovery” are representative of that ongoing dialogue with affected populations in all aspects of IOM’s work.

I encourage those active on social media (as I am) to donate as much as you can afford and in return receive our wonderful limited edition book, seen here in its multi-media format. In addition please share and support the stories along with the pre-prepared tweets on your own Twitter accounts. A suggested Facebook post can be shared on your networks. Finally, please like and share the links on the website. This sends an important message of support to the hundreds of thousands whose lives were upended by typhoon Haiyan and who are struggling back to their feet.

For Twitter (key messages):

Tweets for the Portraits of recovery profiles:

  • “Our main goal now is to become self-sufficient again.” Read Marieta’s story on http://ow.ly/wBB1W #PortraitsofRecovery #Haiyan6mos
  • This work is putting food on the table for the time being- Danny, a survivor from Guiuan. His story: http://ow.ly/wBB5M #Haiyan6mos
  • A widowed survivor named Leonarda shares, “As long as there’s life, there’s hope” http://ow.ly/wBB8f #PortraitsofRecovery #Haiyan6mos
  • It was heartwarming that so many people helped us when we needed it most, a nurse in Tacloban told IOM http://ow.ly/wBBaU #Haiyan6mos
  • “As people start to recover, they still need info.”- Alfredo, a broadcaster in Tacloban believes http://ow.ly/wBBcN #PortraitsofRecovery
  • Mylene works for IOM & lives in a bunkhouse w/ her family. “My heart lies in this community” http://ow.ly/wBBf1 #Haiyan6mos
  • “Yolanda didn’t kill my spirit; it’s made me fight harder”, a survivor from Ormoc named Raymundo http://ow.ly/wBBhY
  • A newly trained carpenter, Charisse, wants to inspire more women to become carpenteras. Her story: http://ow.ly/wBBkQ #Haiyan6mos
  • “I came back from the brink of despair”, Richard, who lost his wife during the typhoon http://ow.ly/wBBmi #PortraitsofRecovery
  • Roberto, a fisherman from Capiz- We don’t want our island to be forgotten. Read his story http://ow.ly/wBBoN #PortraitsofRecovery #Haiyan6mos


Today marks six months after typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) devastated the southern part of the Philippines. Though still struggling, many of the survivors continue to inspire us with their stories of hope and determination to rebuild their lives.

In this light, IOM created a book entitled “Typhoon Haiyan: Portraits of Recovery”. It is a collection of stories that speak about the courage of communities affected by super typhoon Yolanda. Read more on http://philippineresponse.iom.int/


William Lacy Swing is Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)


For more information please go to:  http://philippineresponse.iom.int/. Donate Here to get a Limited Edition copy of Typhoon Haiyan: Portraits of Recovery.