Nov 5, 2020

Surviving Super-Typhoon Rolly with Your Help

Residents who sheltered in the evacuation centre
Residents who sheltered in the evacuation centre

It’s been a disastrous few days in the Philippines after the country was struck by typhoon Goni, known locally as super typhoon Rolly, in the early hours of last Sunday morning. As the category five cyclone approached hundreds of thousands were forced to evacuate, a task complicated by the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 in the country.

Happily, thanks to your incredible support, the community of Banaba just outside of Manila was well prepared for the incoming storm. Ka Noli, President of our amazing local partner Buklod Tao, described their community’s preparations:

“Rolly was due to batter Metro Manila and our province of Rizal in the wee hours of November 1, 2020. The weather bulletins and text messages we received from the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council) provided advisories for all to get prepared since they say Rolly would side sweep Metro Manila and Rizal after passing through [neighbouring] Aurora Province.

So, the Buklod Tao Board of Trustees had a meeting revisiting our preparations on Saturday morning, October 31. We checked our stockpile of food and water, and happily the solar powered 4-stage rainwater disinfection that IDV donors provided to Buklod Tao was also in working order.

Unlike before Covid-19, we were unable to purchase coffee, sugar, biscuits and medicines for distribution to our [community volunteer] teams because the pandemic quarantine restrictions still limit our movements.

We next revisited our multi-hazard contingency plan for welcoming nearby residents to our evacuation centre. Everything was in place - thermal scanner, wash area, sanitation area, foot bath, separation area (in case there would be a walk-in evacuee who has fever), signage for registration and contact Tracing and signage too for direction to the 2nd floor of the centre where the family cubicles for evacuees are located”.

With preparations made all that was left was to wait for Rolly to make landfall. Ka Noli, continued his account:

“As early as 5:10am in the morning of November 1, 2020, Buklod Tao evacuation center received walk-in evacuees from the nearby riverside. The first evacuees included one adolescent girl, one baby infant girl and three female adults. They carried bags and even a thermos bottle for the baby's milk preparations. 

Thermal scanning was done inside not outside because there was no light at the back side entrance. Sanitation also was done inside the evacuation centre because it was already raining. After registration and contact tracing, I directed the evacuees to first utilize the beds proximate to Francia's office at the ground floor because they have an infant baby girl. 

Space was limited because of distancing requirements, but in all there were sixteen evacuees inside Buklod Tao evacuation center until 7:30 am on November 2. All evacuees were provided with mats, pillows, blankets, again provided thanks to IDV donors.

I sent text messages to our members Delia, Francia, Pablo and Louis (our newly recruited driver of the IDV-donated Suzuki multicab) with instructions to come to the evacuation center to activate Buklod Tao community kitchen. 

Snack was served in the morning of November 1, then lunch in the afternoon; no snacks in the afternoon; dinner in the evening and then breakfast in the morning of November 2. 

The children were provided some reading and coloring books to make themselves busy during their stay. The mothers joined community kitchen chores. There was no problem with ventilation since all the ceiling fans were working (thanks again to IDV donors for the purchase of these ceiling fans). They provided comfort to all the evacuees. 

In the end, we did have rains but not so strong. There was no electric power interruption, despite the intermittent strong winds. We also did not run out of food and water. We managed. We survived! It all reminds me of a Buklod Tao song about our fight:

In times of affliction,

God and Preparedness 

Are our Protection".

Salamat po, IDV Donors, for helping us these past ten years!”

We echo Ka Noli’s thanks to you. While we’re saddened by the major impacts Rolly has brought to other parts of the Philippines, we’re also incredibly grateful that the community of Banaba was prepared for disaster thanks to you.

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.

Evacuees arriving ahead of Rolly
Evacuees arriving ahead of Rolly
Meals being provided
Meals being provided
The IDV donated truck helped in preparation
The IDV donated truck helped in preparation
Aug 25, 2020

Extending beyond Banaba thanks to you!

Construction of the new boat will soon start
Construction of the new boat will soon start

It’s August and the rainy season in the Philippines is now in full swing. This in turn means that the threat of floods and typhoons hang ominously over the community of Banaba on a daily basis.

While this threat is a serious one your incredible support over the years has enabled us to provide new eleven flood rescue boats and refurbish another six. Together, these seventeen boats are helping to protect over 5,400 families in and around Banaba. Thank you so much.

Your ongoing generosity means that we’ve now raised enough to provide our next rescue boat. And amazingly, your support, means that we’re now able to extend this project’s reach into a new community.

Ka Noli, President of our amazing local partners Buklod Tao, explained as follows:

“Thank you for the announced availability of funding for fabrication of another rescue boat (big design). Buklod Tao is proud to announce that with your help Banaba is already well served in terms of boat availability. 

However, about six months ago, one Franciscan Brother, Martin Francisco, inquired about the possibility of receiving a big boat. Brother Martin is living with indigenous people called the Dumagats at the Sierra Madre Mountains north of San Mateo (Rizal province).  

Brother Martin is helping the Dumagats in protecting the local ecology from illegal loggers but is very serious about the need for a boat in case there is a big collapse of the nearby  dams - Ipo Dam, Angat Dam, and Burgos Dam. 

We are afraid that the Dumagats people would be seriously affected by the dam(s) collapse, and he is right - just look at what is happening now at the three gorges dam collapse in China. The three dams at the vicinity of Brother Martin’s location already need some retrofitting - this is one his long-time advocacy projects - but the local government is not paying enough attention.

Now, thanks to the IDV donors, we could fabricate fiberglass rescue boats and deliver the product to Brother Martin's Dumagat community in the Sierra Madre Mountains. And to some other communities nearby at risk of flooding.

Our partnership is now providing resilience to other communities as well as Banaba. Three cheers! Salamat po (Thank you)!”

We echo Ka Noli’s thanks and are delighted that this project is now extending beyond Banaba.

Construction of the new boat will start any day now and we’ll be sure to keep you posted right here on GlobalGiving.

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.

When finished the boat will look this one
When finished the boat will look this one
The boat is heading to an area near the Angat dam
The boat is heading to an area near the Angat dam
It will protect Dumagat people like these
It will protect Dumagat people like these
Jul 14, 2020

A new chapter at the HTDC orphanage in Haiti

The new house has lots of shade
The new house has lots of shade

Thanks to your incredible generosity we have some big news to share from the HTDC orphanage in Haiti! 

In a project report last December we explained how long-running political unrest in Haiti had led to rising costs and reduced income for the orphanage. In turn, this had caused plans to build a new house for the orphanage to be postponed, and they'd been forced to extend the lease on their existing property for another six months as a result.

That six months soon passed and, with the situation still volatile, the orphanage Director Carlo reached out in May to discuss plans to downsize:

"Due to all the protest problems in Haiti since July 2018, I was not able to get funds to work on the construction for the new place. That’s why we had to pay for six months and now we need to pay again this month. We suppose to pay for another six months - from now to November. 

Due to the Coronavirus there are even more costs. For example, the water cost increases because we use more water this time to clean. We use a lot of water to clean the house and clothes everyday.

But we have an idea because we have a little less kids now because a few were already adopted. So, we think because of the situation we should keep the number like this. This way we can find another house for a cheaper price - between $6000 - $7000 for a year, and make sure we keep all the kids and workers safe and looked after”.

We agreed this plan made sense, and we told Carlo we could help with the costs if he could find a house. And it didn’t take him long.

We soon received another update that Carlo had found somewhere great. Carlo explained as follows:

“We have found a great place very close to our current house. It’s in a very safe area, just 5 minutes to the USA Embassy. There is running water and also electricity more of the time. We can also take our batteries from the current house for when the power is out”.

Carlo also sent some photos which you can see with this report. We agreed it was a great house and, thanks to your incredible donations, Carlo was quickly able to pay the rent and take possession. We asked how he was getting on:

“The new house is smaller but the kids like the place because there is more shade in the garden, and they are excited that the playground from the old house is being set up now. We also build better beds for the new house and not bring the very old ones with us. We want to buy better mattresses too. We painted the place, and we fixed the yard and built a place where the kids can eat outside and watch TV and do other activities.

Thank you to all the donors who help us move. Now the kids and staff are all secure for the next year, and we worry less in this new place”

We echo Carlo’s thanks. It’s the end of an era moving from the old house which the kids have called home for almost a decade. In fact it was your amazing generosity that allowed us to rent the old house not long after the 2010 earthquake. But the orphanage’s needs have changed over the years and with your support they’re now ready to start a new chapter.

Thanks so much again for your incredible support. If you ever have any questions about the orphanage and how we use your donations, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

The garden is very peaceful
The garden is very peaceful
More shade has also been built outside
More shade has also been built outside
The playground is being set up
The playground is being set up
 
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