Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster

Sep 3, 2013

Your investments paid off during recent floods!

Thanks to you, they knew when a family needed help
Thanks to you, they knew when a family needed help

During the week starting August 18th, a nearby typhoon caused the normal monsoon rains to go into overdrive. It rained for almost five full days – more than a month’s worth of rain fell in August 19th alone.

Rivers were already at bursting point on August 19th, and as rains continued thousands of residents were forced to leave their homes. In Banaba alone 2,300 people found themselves in overcrowded evacuation centers.

When the waters began to rise and forced families to evacuate, the systems you’ve funded sprang into action. The mothers of Buklod Tao assessed the needs of families in the evacuation centres and opened their community kitchen to feed evacuees.

Meanwhile, Buklod Tao’s flood warning system was activated. This simple but effective system was devised by community leaders and streamlined by your generosity. Basically, designated river waters check on the river’s height and then text that information to the president of a local people’s organisation named “Noli”.

Noli then uses the FrontlineSMS system to text-blast community response teams to let them know how severe the floods are and where help is needed. Those teams then alert their designated areas about water levels and the need to evacuate. The teams also respond to any emergencies.

Your donations made the setup and use of the FrontlineSMS system possible. Previously messages could only be sent to a few people – now each message is received by hundreds of people in parallel, allowing much faster and wider dissemination of life-saving flood warnings.

Thanks to these investments in helping Banaba prepare for disaster, not a single life was lost during the most recent floods! We’ve now seen the disaster risk reduction measures you made possible in action first hand – and they work.

The rains are gone for now, but they’re sure to return. As we keep working hard to get Banaba ready for the next floods, we wanted to thank you for making these investments possible! Without you, the last flood would have been so much worse for thousands of people.

As always, if you have any questions about how we’re using your donation to change lives here in Banaba, don’t hesitate to email We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks again for all you’ve done, and very kind regards!

Thanks to you when floods came, we reacted!
Thanks to you when floods came, we reacted!
Your support kept evacuees like these safe
Your support kept evacuees like these safe
Aug 19, 2013

Rain forces 1,000 people from their homes

Eating a hot meal thanks to you!.jpg
Eating a hot meal thanks to you!.jpg

On August 18th, a typhoon passing to the northeast of the Philippines caused a phenomenon called “Enhanced Monsoon”. An enhanced monsoon occurs when the wet air from a nearby typhoon sends the Philippines’ monsoon rains into overdrive.

Here in Banaba, the enhanced monsoon brought rain for most of Saturday and all of Sunday. On Sunday night, the rivers began to overflow and vulnerable families were forced from their homes.

Thanks to you, when evacuations began on the night of August 18th, we had the funding we needed to help and were able to provide hot meals for hundreds of evacuees on the 19th.

Rescue teams were also kept up to date with the water levels via the Frontline SMS system that you funded. That information meant that rescue teams knew when it was time to get families to safety and took swift action to evacuate the most vulnerable. As a result everyone in harms way was evacuated without injury or loss of life. That safe, smooth evacuation was made possible by your donations. Thanks so much!

The rain’s slowed for now, but we’re not out of the woods yet. At the time of writing, up to 30 mm of rain were expected in the next 24 hours, and the effects of the enhanced monsoon could last for up to four days. Unless the weather forecast changes, there will be more evacuees in need of our support in the coming days.

It costs just $3 to prepare a bowl of nutritious, warming oatmeal for 10 evacuees. That means that when you give the minimum donation that GlobalGiving will process - $10 – we’ll be able to give more than 30 people breakfast.

If you’re not in a position to give, please share this update with friends and family so that we can help evacuees ride out the enhanced monsoon!

Thanks so much, and very kind regards


Media and Marketing Director
International Disaster Volunteers
England and Wales Registered Charity: 1132011

Families in a crowded evacuation centre.jpg
Families in a crowded evacuation centre.jpg
Aug 12, 2013

Rainy Season in Full Swing!

Kids like Mark need you to help prepare for floods
Kids like Mark need you to help prepare for floods

We'd like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who voted during GlobalGiving's Photo Contest! While we didn't win, supporters like you put on a strong show of support on Facebook. Many of the families this project supports use Facebook, and your posts were an inspiration to them! Your donations are more important now than ever because the rainy season is picking up.

August has been a rude awakening for the staff of our charity. Most of us are spending our first rainy season in Banaba and had no idea how quickly the rivers could rise. There's a small creek behind our house that we can usually barely see from our roof. When we woke up on the morning of August 6th, we were gob-smacked to see the "small creek" full of fast flowing, brown water. We could see it clearly from our upstairs bedrooms.

Overnight, the creek turned into a raging torrent. All the rivers in Banaba rose as quickly as the creek did and it wasn't because of a typhoon - they rose after just a few hours of heavy rain. Luckily, on the 6th it stopped raining at 10 am and the river reached a maximum height for 15.5 meters - about 51 feet.

Evacuations start at 16 meters. That means were only half a meter - a foot and a half - from the first flood evacuation of the year.

For families like Mark's who live by the river and leave their homes when the river reaches 16 meters, evacuation means days in an evacuation centre. They are only a few meters from the river, so they're the first to leave and the last to return home.

During the biggest floods, they're away from home for a week or more. Donors like you give us the funds we need to invest in safe, well equipped evacuation centres, food, medical supplies, and other basic necessities to survive and recover from floods. The rainy season lasts until December, and before then there will likely be several evacuations. We'll need to provide supplies for dozens of kids like Mark for each and every one.

This is a big task, but happily, GlobalGiving is making it easier to support vulnerable families. In fact, your support could even win you fabulous prizes. From September 1st to 30th, all fundraisers who raise more than $500 for a GlobalGiving project will be entered in a raffle for prizes ranging from a flip cam to airline tickets. There are also financial awards for the project with the most fundraisers! That makes September a great month to cycle, bake, or walk for vulnerable families like Mark's!

If you'd like help organising your fundraising efforts please visit or email Once you've decided how much you'd like to raise and how you want to raise it you can create your fundraising page here. Don't forget to add our project as the beneficiary of your efforts once you've created your page! Again, if you have any questions please email

Thanks so much, and our very warmest regards from Banaba!

Our "small creek".
Our "small creek".
Jul 16, 2013

Help us win $1,000!

This photo could be worth $1,000!
This photo could be worth $1,000!

Great news! One of the photos of our work in the Philippines has been chosen as a finalist in GlobalGiving’s annual photo contest! The winning photo will receive $1,000 and your votes decide the winner!

The nominated photo was taken by our Media and Marketing Director, Emma, and it shows two year old Mae with her mom. The family lives in a shack very close to the riverbank and their home is flooded several times a year. It’s often completely destroyed.

Emma’s taken a lot of photos over the years in disaster zones stretching from Peru to Vietnam to Haiti, but this picture is one of her favorites.

“I took this photo right after hearing the family’s story. They’ve been through a lot, but they didn’t seem to have lost hope. This photo stands out to me because it really seems to show how Melanie – the mom of the family - felt. She looks tired but determined and certainly not depressed. And of course, how could you not love little Mae’s face? This was the only shot I could get with her looking at me! She was so camera shy!”

The $1,000 prize will let us stockpile essential food, medicines, and bedding for Mae and her family. It will let us invest in early warning systems before floods and materials to rebuild after floods. It will make all the difference for Mae and her family, so please vote!

Vote here 

Voting lasts until July 30th, but we hope you’ll vote right now and get us off to an early lead! Thanks so much and very warm regards!

Jun 3, 2013

Growing in Manila!

Volunteers and at risk community members
Volunteers and at risk community members

We're delighted to report that our work in Manila is changing lives every day. Our work is ranging from stockpiling food for when the floods come to helping community members learn to use technology to stay in touch with one another during floods and track storms. And, of course, we're still working on erosion control and flood defences.

We'll be sending you a full update within a few days - including an exciting upcoming matching opportunity! For the time being, here are a few of our favorite photos of the work you've made possible so far!

Stay tuned for our fantastic matching opportunity next week, and thanks so much for your support! 

Learning how to use the internet to track storms
Learning how to use the internet to track storms
Working with communities to prepare for disaster
Working with communities to prepare for disaster

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Project Leader

Emma Taylor

Bristol, Somerset United Arab Emirates

Where is this project located?

Map of Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster