Hope Rises from the Sea
In November 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philipinnes, devastated large areas of Southeast Asia. It was responsible for more than 6,000 deaths in the Philippines alone and destroyed the livelihoods of some 5 million people.
Up to 1,400 people from the Philippines work for Gearbulk, many as seafarers, along with 75 in GB Manila office, so it was only right that we should make a contribution to the relief effort. Gearbulk joined forces with our crewing partner Magsaysay to provide fishing boats to some of the families affected, through the Homer Foundation's Project MagAHON.
MagAHON, which means "Rise from the Sea", is intended to provide immediate assistance to fisher folk and communities in the most severely affected areas by extending help to provise boats in order to create a sustainable livelihood.
Typhoon Yolanda destroyed much of the infrastructure, and many rice farms, forestry and coconut plantations in the Eastern Visayas and Panay. Out of 71 provinces with fishing communities, 21 were badly affected. The agriculture in these areas will take years to recover, but with fish still plentiful, shoreline fishermen should have immediate access to a source of income and livelihood, both for their families and their villages. All they needed are boats.
Following Phase One of the project, which saw 40 boats delivered, Gearbulk and partners have sponsored 80 boats in Phase Tow. 46 of these were sponsored by the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation. In addition, 17 boats were as a result of long-term partner Arauco, the Chilean woodpulp, engineered wood and forestry company. These will go to Marabut in Samar Province, which, being close to where Yolanda made landfall, has some of the hardest hit communities. A further 17 boats came from donations raised through generous contributions from GB staff worldwide.