Relief on Busuanga Island: Updated Information on Typhoon Damage and Relief Activities
It is now over three months since Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the Philippines. After the initial rush of relief died down Peace Winds America has been able to work with its partners on the ground to gain a clearer picture of damages as well as relief activities. Presently our relief remains centered on Busuanga Island (Palawan Region), a rural community in the Western Visayas far from the media spotlight still centered on Samar and Leyte.
Busuanga Island – A Picture of the Damage
Ongoing situation reports and needs assessments have brought the effects of Haiyan into sharper focus. Through the efforts of local governments, the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) and the Southern Tagalog Peoples’ Resource Center (STPRC), multiple Damage, Needs, and Capabilities Assessments (DNCAs) have been carried out. The picture they paint is stark. All 14 barangays on the island were damaged, affecting 28,640 people and rendering 4,405 families homeless. Significant damage was done to rice paddies and fishing boats as well as tourist sites (primarily scuba diving). In the targeted communities of Salvacion, Cheey, and Buluang alone there are nearly 10,000 affected people. Between crop damage, loss of housing, loss of major buildings (e.g., schools) and destruction of stored goods, these communities were selected for intensive relief efforts.
Disaster Relief – A National and Community Effort
PWA knows from experience that disaster relief works best when local expertise guides the procurement and provision of needed items. In Busuanga local organizations, volunteers, businesses, and support groups helped generate the needs assessments and direct relief. This enabled CDRC and STPRC to procure goods in Manila (they were unavailable locally), ship them via Coron, and repack and distribute them upon arrival in Busuanga.
Thanks to CDRC and STPRC efforts to obtain discounts, PWA’s relief funding provided for 1,050 families, 50 above the targeted number. In total PWA provided:
These goods were packed into kits and distributed by CDRC/STPRC staff as well as members of the local government and volunteers. Prior to each distribution the relief recipients were given a brief training session on emergency response and preparedness for future disasters.
Looking Ahead – Toward Recovery
The damage and needs assessments painted a picture of acute and long-term need in these communities on Busuanga. Moving forward, there will be serious efforts in the areas of shelter and livelihoods. Peace Winds America has committed to providing support for these recovery efforts. Together with our partners on the ground we will explore housing repair and rebuilding, fishing boat repair, and support for rice farmers whose fields, tools, and seed stock were damaged in the Typhoon.
We thank all of our donors for their generosity. Together we have been able to provide desperately needed relief. Together we will continue to help these communities as they recover.
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