Apr 22, 2021

Tensions boiling over on the streets of Haiti

The children are all safe thanks to you!
The children are all safe thanks to you!

Thanks so much for your support of the HTDC Orphanage. With much of the world’s attention focused on Covid-19, the worsening political situation in Haiti may not be getting much airtime, and your amazing generosity is one of the only things keeping the storm outside the orphanage’s gates right now.

Political unrest has been simmering away for well over a year, but it’s taken a dramatic turn for the worse recently due to plans to hold a referendum in June on strengthening the President’s powers. With presidential elections already overdue since 2019 many in Haiti fear a return to the days of dictatorship.

Thousands of people have flooded the streets to angrily protest and demand the President’s resignation. The President’s own supporters have responded in kind, making travel across the capital dangerous due to running conflicts between opposing factions. Kidnappings and crime have also become commonplace, and schools and businesses have been forced to close.

As mentioned in a project report last summer this situation has placed extreme pressure on the HTDC Orphanage because basic essentials, including food and fuel, are hard to find and this has driven up costs. At the same time the impacts of Covid-19 on the global economy has meant that funding from the orphanage’s other international supporters has fallen dramatically. 

In response to this we’ve increased our own monthly contributions towards the orphanage’s running costs, and this has only been possible because of your incredible support. Thanks to you the children are still receiving healthy meals, including chicken and rice on Good Friday and rice, beans, macaroni salad and fried fish on Easter Sunday.

The orphanage’s property is of course the foundation on which everything else is built, and the annual rent will be due again in June. Happily, thanks to your previous donations, we have enough in hand to cover this for the next year, meaning that for now at least the children will all continue to have a safe home. Thank you so much!

The situation in Haiti is still very fragile however, and at the moment there is no clear path to resolving the political tensions which have once again boiled over into violence. So, your continued support will be essential to ensuring the continued security of the children in the orphanage’s care.

If you have any questions about the orphanage and how we use your donations, or if you think you could help with donations and clothes and more in Florida, then please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Enjoying an Easter meal
Enjoying an Easter meal
Yummy!
Yummy!
Apr 20, 2021

A precious pause to prepare and provide

The Brgy. IVC boats leaving the boat shop
The Brgy. IVC boats leaving the boat shop

It’s hard to believe that the 2021 Pacific typhoon season is now less than a month away. 

Typhoon Vamco, known locally as Ulysses, only struck just before Christmas, bringing widespread devastation to Luzon, the island on which the capital Manila sits. However, Ulysses hit right at the end of the previous season, meaning that affected communities have had little time to recover and catch their breaths before getting ready to brace for impact once again.

Our amazing local partners Buklod Tao have used this precious time to do everything they can to prepare for the next round of storms though, including helping to provide new flood rescue boats and making sure the existing fleet is being utilised as effectively as possible.

Buklod Tao’s founder and President, the indomitable Ka Noli, explained about the new boats:

“We are once again in a lockdown mode similar to last March/April last year due to the increase in the number COVID-19 cases all over the country. Thus, non-essential volunteers do not report to Buklod Tao Center due to safety protocols. 

But amidst the pandemic we still are organizing essential work and managed to fabricate two units of the small design fiberglass rescue boats. These boats were commissioned by the St Vincent Foundation for use in Sition Olandes, Brgy. IVC (Industrial Valley Complex) in Marikina City. This area lies next to the mighty Marikina river and is ever more frequently affected by the rising waters now.

The boats were proposed, approved and constructed very quickly, all this was completed between the later part of February and the last week of March 2021. Hauling to Sition Olandes (named after Holland) was undertaken after the Holy Week, 7th April.”

Ka Noli went on to explain about the planned changes to the deployment of the existing fleet:

I have started talking to a prospective leader of a new Disaster Risk Reduction (DDR) team here in the Baybay Ilog 2 area of Banaba. This area was really engulfed by the flood waters of nearby Nangka River last November 2020 during typhoon Ulysses. 

We estimate there are 150-200 families residing here, very near the Nangka River, and this particular area has no rescue boat coverage at all. So, we would like to earmark the Graheme Maher boat, provided by IDV, to this community. This boat was used before in North and South Libis, but there are several small rescue boats also in this area that can help. So, please do not worry about these areas being endangered.

We have asked the prospective DRR team leader, Jhun Sarte, if there is a sufficient space where The Graheme Maher boat could be dry-docked, and stay free from damage. The Graheme Maher could stay put here at Buklod Tao Center grounds if not and we could simply haul it when typhoon warnings are raised”.

We’re pleased that yet more vulnerable communities are benefitting from the protection of flood rescue boats and we’re currently using some of your donations to this project to undertake some repairs to the Grahame Maher before its redeployment. We’re also continuing to raise funds for more rescue boats so that even more communities can benefit in future.

Once again, thank you so much for your ongoing support, and if you ever have any questions please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

The two Brgy. IVC boats ready for delivery
The two Brgy. IVC boats ready for delivery
The transport arrives
The transport arrives
The boats being loaded
The boats being loaded
Mar 5, 2021

Your impact is incredible!

Safe from the storm, thanks to you!
Safe from the storm, thanks to you!

It’s hard to express just how grateful we are for your support of this project over the years. 

Little by little you chipped in to help us complete the Banaba Livelihood & Evacuation Centre. Because of your generosity Banaba residents have had somewhere safe to shelter during an incredibly tough few months.

In our last report we explained how the Centre had proved vital during super typhoon Rolly. Then, just a few short days after we sent that report the Philippines was struck by another deadly typhoon. 

Typhoon Vamco, known locally as Ulysses, was the tenth typhoon of the 2020 Pacific season but the second costliest in the country’s entire history.

In Manila, Ulysses brought the worst flooding since typhoon Ketsana in 2009. For the residents of Banaba, just outside the capital, the rising flood waters quickly overwhelmed homes forcing families to evacuate.

Ka Noli, President of our amazing local partner Buklod Tao, described how some of these evacuees found safety and comfort at the Centre.

“Last November 2020, during typhoons Rolly and Ulysses, the Centre - particularly the first & second floors - served as an evacuation camp. 

The second floor was the main accommodation area for the evacuees. We had to limit the number of evacuees due to restrictions of social distancing, but we managed to accommodate nine 9 families or 29 persons. There were evacuees near the stage and all across the big open space of the second floor! 

The cubicles and curtains provided by IDV donors proved to be the best move to provide evacuees shelter and privacy. Salamat po! (Thank you!)

Before taking shelter all evacuees underwent our multi-hazard contingency protocols when entering on the first floor - thermal scanning, sanitation, wash, registration and contact tracing. The washing was done using the big wash station funded by IDV donors

There were evacuees too on the first floor, sheltering adjacent to the office. In this space was a two-month old baby girl and her family. They were accommodated here because there are more comfortable beds and beddings. Salamat Po to IDV donors for the previous assistance to purchase beddings for evacuees!

Continued washing was even more important with Covid. Happily the bathrooms and toilets at the Centre remained very functional. This was especially thanks to the provision of strong, free-flowing water from the two big tanks that collect rain water located on the third floor - again IDV donors provided these. 

Needless to say, our community kitchen volunteers cooked and served food at the dining hall. IDV donors helped to provide this food and even the big tables used were built by IDV volunteers many years ago.

Even after the evacuees had gone home the Centre was used in the recovery. In the later part of November 2020, after the onslaught of Rolly and Ulysses, the Centre was the venue for a psycho-social intervention for some forty (40) Buklod Tao members affected by Ulysses flood.

People now are still suffering. So this week we will resume the distribution of hot breakfasts to the poorer communities in Banaba. And Buklod Tao community kitchen based here at the Centre is at the helm of doing things. 

In all, Salamat po, IDV.

Salamat po, IDV Donors!.

We still need your unwavering support.”

We echo Ka Noli’s thanks. Without you the Centre would still be an unfinished shell instead of the vital safe haven it’s proven to be!

We’ll keep you posted as our work in Banaba continues, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I’d be delighted to hear from you as always.

Setting up the cubicle curtains
Setting up the cubicle curtains
Baby Rheeana was the youngest evacuee
Baby Rheeana was the youngest evacuee
Dinner is served
Dinner is served
 
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