Low-cost Sanitation For Typhoon Haiyan Survivors

Jun 2, 2014

Safe Sanitation for Leyte and Samar Provinces

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Typhoon-ravaged Leyte and Samar provinces. This time we continue to build low-cost robust pour-flush and dry toilets. We also build dry toilets and train beneficiaries on the re-use of human waste in small-scale agriculture. We tell them that urine is a great fertilizer and that feces when properly handled and sanitized is a good source of phosphorus which is a major element for the plant. Most of them are sceptical and we are met with laughter and unbelief but we keep prodding-on especially in areas where there is no water. Right now, we are constructing toilets in 5 municipalities in Leyte and Samar.

Aside from providing the survivors with toilet facilities we also provide requesting local government units with toilet bowls and then they in turn provide this to their constituents. So far we are able to provide a total of 730 toilet bowls to several barrios here. The latest addition to our repertoire of sanitation support is the promotion of a robust, low-cost communal hand-wash for schoolchildren. We realize that hand-washing is an important practice that we need to introduce but traditional hand-wash are easily broken and the faucets stolen. Our hand-wash is different in that it consist of a steel pipe with micro-holes and could not be easily break-down.

Hoping for your continuing support.

Very sincerely yours,

Cora Sayre

Mar 13, 2014

Samar Province Safe Sanitation Initiative

Samar Toilet Camp
Samar Toilet Camp

Staring last week we are starting to provide low-cost sanitation in the Province of Samar. The first municipality of Samar from Leyte is Sta. Rita and it can be reached via the famous San Juanico Bridge. We have established our toilet production camp in the Municipality of Marabut after coordinating with the local officials there. We found out that like Leyte, Samar is also equally devastated by the typhoons with large areas of farms damaged and houses and structures flattened to the ground. Tents where people are staying are everywhere. Food aid is very few already as international aid pronounced that now is no longer the time for emergency but that of "recovery". I don't know for how long people will hold out and famine stalks the land. Sanitation too is wiped-out and our toilet system is the only viable alternative as international water and sanitation agencies insist on the use of the plastic slab with a hole as their toilet. People detest the plastic slabs and seldom use it if at all. We are trying to lobby with international aid and hope that they will adopt our system.

Next week we will start with the installation of the toilets to the communities and selecting the poorest of the poor who is also most vulnerable to diseases caused by open defecation.  Our problem in Samar is that the cost of materials is very high and roads are very bad. There seems to be sleeping government here. Local NGO's are also not active as it should be in other areas. 

Hoping for your continuing support, I remain,

Cora Sayre

Feb 11, 2014

Expanding our work in Samar Province

Ensuring safe future for the children
Ensuring safe future for the children

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Super-typhoon devastated Leyte Province.  Last week, I was able to visit the province of Samar which is very near Leyte and I saw the extent of devastation there with much of the land and houses flattened to the ground. It was in the municipality of Guiauan in Samar where the first landfall of the typhoon happened. We decided to expand our efforts in Samar and our initiative will have  similar strategies as what we have done in Leyte, namely,

  1. Join the WASH Team in Samar in order to introduce our approach and determine areas of implementation and convergence.
  2. Pitch a mobile pre-fabrication tent in a designated place in Samar and starting in Guiauan municipality where the first landfall of the super-typhoon happened and where 98% of structures in the area were flattened to the ground.
  3. Bring our expert artisans and recruit local semi-skilled workers.
  4. Bring our toilet bowl moulds from Leyte to Samar. Also bring our elf trucks and other resources to Samar.
  5. Start sourcing of hardware, materials and implement pre-fabrication and installation activities by coordinating with barangay officials and leaders.

With this report, may I enjoin you to help support us with two of our complementary initiatives which are coconut replanting program to replace the damaged coconut trees and house re-building for the survivors. The links are,



Very sincerely yours,


Jan 23, 2014

Production of toilet bowls for Typhoon survivors

Toilet bowl making in Leyte
Toilet bowl making in Leyte

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Leyte Province. This time we are continuing with the pre-fabrication of toilets and installing the pre-fabricated units in the areas. We are selecting the poorest of the poor beneficiaries. Toilet bowls are difficult to source here and we have already used up all our toilet bowls we brought all the way from our main office in Mindanao. So our move is to make the toilet bowls too using concrete. We recruited local survivors as our workers which is a good move since work is very difficult to find here with electricity not yet operational. The procedure in making toilet bowls is simple and easy since we are making the moulds ourselves. Each of the survivor can earn 200 pesos a day and the money they use to buy food and other household necessities. Working with us makes them useful too and they forget about the bad effects of the typhoon. We are now employing 34 local people and they are very happy about it. Our plan is to donate the toilet bowls to those interested. With so many toilets gone, this is a good innovation, considering also that toilet bowl supply is short here.

Very sincerely yours,


Jan 3, 2014

Gearing-up toilet construction for 2014

Survivor's dwelling

Dear Friends,

Greetings for the New Year 2014. The start of the year will also be our fresh start as we prepare to continue with our toilet construction and distribution of hygiene kits in Leyte Province. We stopped our activities start December 23 for the Christmas holidays. As of today, we have already filled-up our 2 elf trucks with toilet construction materials consisting mainly of nails, galvanized iron, iron re-bars and bamboo slats. These materials, as I mentioned previously is very difficult to procure in Leyte as few hardware stores are open and lines are long as local residents try to buy hardware materials in order to repair their houses.

As of today too, we are the only group constructing and/or repairing damaged toilets. A few other NGO's (international) are distributing toilet slabs which is just thick plastic with a hole and which I think is totally useless. Our approach is to construct entire toilet comprising septic tank, cement flooring, toilet bowl, wall, door and roof. If the toilet is the dry kind appropriate in waterless communities, instead of a septic tank, a fecal matter collector is installed. We are experts in this kind of activities winning twice in an international competition held in Israel, winning a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation award for Global Health Challenges and then as Tech Awardee in 2011.

Thank you my dearest friends for your kind support. As we build toilets, we realize too the need to help in the repair or build houses of the survivors. For some have nice toilets, but they are living in destitute dwellings, like animals, very pitiful and heart-breaking. 

Please help too our Filipino home-building initiative. The link is, 


With much gratitude,

Cora Sayre

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Project Leader

Cora Sayre

Executive Director
Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental Philippines

Where is this project located?

Map of Low-cost Sanitation For Typhoon Haiyan Survivors