Starting this month (May) is considered very critical in terms of the survival and food security of Typhoon Pablo survivors because by this time food aid is far and in between and the support of international aid is dwindling and limited only to maintenance of water and sanitation and some food supplies. This situation is unlike during the first weeks when Pablo struck and food aid was plentiful. This time the survivors especially those living in scattered communities or those who have returned to what is left of their homes are left largely to fend for themselves and raising food via agriculture is still at the starting stage since their priority is to secure their housing. During our visit to Monkayo in Compostela Valley we found out that all trees, bananas and vegetation were devoid of leaves and most are uprooted a testament to the fury of the typhoon’s heavy wind that lashed the area for 5 hours, according to local residents. This type of activity (vegetable gardening support) we have done with excellent results among survivors of Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan and Iligan City in 2011.
This time we were able to distribute 300 sets of basic gardening kits comprising small garden tools, vegetable seeds, organic fertilizer and simple gardening guide/manual (in Cebuano). The manual detail basic skills in organic home-gardening and using local resources available in the households. For example, sacks and plastic bags or bottles can be used for organic gardening and organic fertilizer is available from biodegradable household waste such as those from the kitchen. We trained the 300 beneficiaries how to do this.
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