Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster

by International Disaster Volunteers (IDV)
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster
We want to provide more life-vests like these
We want to provide more life-vests like these

While typhoons can strike the Philippines at any time of year, the summer is traditionally the most active period and August often the most active individual month. So, with July almost upon us our minds are now firmly focused on helping communities prepare for the threat of disaster.

Thanks to your generosity we’ve already made a start by supporting our amazing local partner Buklod Tao to undertake some important maintenance and improvements to the Banaba Livelihood and Evacuation Centre.

Buklod Tao’s President Ka Noli, described the work they wanted to focus on first:

“The Center maintenance is first on our agenda. In our latest meetings we have been discussing that the roof or downspouts have not been repaired or repainted since installation in October 2003.

At present, the room for sewing tetra bags/pots/coco feet [for income generation], the storage room adjacent to it and the lighting fixture at the 2nd floor stairways have no electric power. 

We would therefore like to use funds from IDV donors to undertake this work”

Ensuring the Centre is watertight and usable for both evacuations and year-round community development projects is vital. So, thanks to your donations, we were happy to support these initiatives.

Next on the list is ensuring that flood rescue boats are readily available should the worst happen. We’ve already helped provide 12 of these boats, and almost have enough to provide another. However, when we asked Buklod Tao about their priorities they reminded us not to forget the important volunteers who crew these life-saving vessels, as well as those who help respond in other ways. Ka Noli had to this to say:

“Our consensus is to provide ponchos to four teams, thus 20 ponchos in total. The same thing is also true for the life vests, i.e. 20 pcs for teams. But we also want to provide all 75 team members (inclusive of community kitchen volunteers). All shall be provided with accident insurance valid for 1 year.”

These selfless volunteers are also obviously essential to keep the community safe, so we’re keen to support this work too. The projected cost of this support is around $500 or £400 which we aim to send to Banaba ASAP.

All these vital preparations are only possible thanks to your continued generosity.

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.

Work on the Evac Centre roof
Work on the Evac Centre roof
A good head for heights
A good head for heights
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73 year old Yolanda says thank you!
73 year old Yolanda says thank you!

Thank you so much for helping Filipino communities prepare for disaster. In our last project report we explained how Covid-19 related lockdowns had been imposed again in the community of Banaba.

Happily restrictions have now eased once more, and that means we’ve been able to gather photos and stories of some of those your donations have helped.

The first (above) is of 73 year old Yolanda. Yolanda’s husband sadly died eight years ago and she lives with her two grandchildren in the Baybay Ilog 2 area of Banaba. Life has been tough for Yolanda since her husband’s death and she lives in a poorly constructed house just 10m (30ft) from the banks of the Nangka river. Her home is often flooded during heavy rains and typhoons.

Yolanda’s age means she can’t move quickly, and she was in real danger of being trapped by the floods caused by typhoon Ulysses in late 2020. Thankfully, one of our flood rescue boats was nearby and able to save Yolanda’s family and their neighbours. 

Ka Noli, President of our local partner - Buklod Tao, recently interviewed Yolanda and here’s what she had to say:

The rescue boats are a big help to us and to my neighbors. Many of us would have drowned if there were not boats. Thank you to the donors for protecting us”.

The second face (below) is of 66 year old Simplicio. Simplicio lives with his wife and their three children in Banaba's Dona Pepeng Subdivision. Their home is made of lightweight materials and the landowner lets them stay in return for their stewardship of the property. They live close to two rivers and, like Yolanda, their home is often damaged or destroyed during floods and typhoons.

After typhoon Ulysses Simplicio’s daughter Karen developed a skin condition and the family’s low income meant they couldn’t afford to buy the medication she needed.

Thankfully, because of your donations, we were able to help Karen and several of her neighbours get the medicines they needed. Simplicio had this to day:

“Karen is now doing well because of the medical assistance from IDV donors. Thank you!”.

We echo Yolanda’s and Simplicio’s thanks. While they were both helped in the aftermath of typhoon Ulysses, it’s only because of your support that we’re able to help Buklod Tao prepare to respond when the community needs it most.

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.

Yolanda's grandson Antonio
Yolanda's grandson Antonio
66 year old Simplicio
66 year old Simplicio
Simplicio's daughter
Simplicio's daughter
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Residents gather at the Banaba Evacuation Centre
Residents gather at the Banaba Evacuation Centre

Over the last few months Banaba, just outside Manila, has mercifully been spared from the storms and heavy rains which frequently hit the community. Yet Banaba’s residents are still under threat from many directions.

For example, the Covid Delta variant has caused a huge new surge of infections in recent months. Total cases across the country have now reached almost 2.8 million, and over 42,000 have sadly died from the virus. What’s more, while over 50 million vaccine doses have been given, the supply chain is fragile and there isn’t enough to meet the need.

The country has implemented a series of lockdowns to curtail the spread, but with more than 2 million hospitality workers impacted in Manila alone, the economic impacts have also caused great hardship. As a result the government has moved to a localised approach targeting individual neighbourhoods, streets and sometimes even specific buildings.

Ka Noli, President of our local partner, Buklod Tao described the situation on the ground:

“At the entrance of the Dona Pepeng Subdivision of Banaba, coming from General A.Luna National Road, the local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office erected a temporary outpost with a big signage that says :"Incident Command Post". This is related to the granular lockdown imposed in Camia street of the subdivision due to recent COVID-19 related deaths in the past two months in that street. There are also several individual houses that are in lockdown in the South Libis area due to COVID-19 cases. These are due to the recent policy of the country's Inter-Agency Task Force for the pandemic that granular lockdown imposition is to be implemented to combat COVID-19”.

Whether this localised, granular approach is successful remains to be seen, and residents are also facing danger from other quarters.

While the typhoon season traditionally draws to a close in August and September, the country was hit by two powerful typhoons last November. So, the chance for more to form this year is still of major concern. This is especially true for families living near the mighty Nangka river, one of several waterways that pass through Banaba.

Ka Noli went on to explain:

“The wall infrastructure erected by the government's Department of Public Works and Highways along the embankment of Nangka River on the Banaba side suffered the brunt of strong currents during last November’s typhoons.

This resulted in the collapse of a 100-meter length of the wall and another stretch of wall further along the river. Now just a half meter of space remains between the eroded portion and the houses of poor informal settlers. In February of this year two big tarpaulin signages were erected at the immediate vicinity of the collapsed wall that inform the residents that the area is not safe anymore; that there is imminent risk of collapse during heavy rains; and that the residents are advised to leave the area.

At the time I went to the area and took pictures of the condition of the houses viz-a-viz the eroded wall at the embankment of Nangka River. I interviewed three to four families that are very close to the eroded wall and asked them why they are not leaving the place. They replied that there is no government assistance to enable them to move and find a place to relocate/resettle. Instead they were advised to seek safety in evacuation centres like ours!”

This clearly isn’t a sustainable solution for long-term shelter needs, but with your amazing support we stand ready to support Buklod Tao and Banaba residents at risk of disaster. Thanks so much for continuing to support this project.

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.

Covid is surging once again
Covid is surging once again
The collapsed river wall
The collapsed river wall
A resident surveys the damage
A resident surveys the damage
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The boat crews have a new tool
The boat crews have a new tool

Thanks so much for helping Filipino communities prepare for disaster.

In our last report we highlighted how your amazing generosity helping to complete the Banaba Livelihood and Evacuation Centre had proved so vital during typhoons Rolly and Ulysses and their aftermath. Banaba residents sheltered inside the building during the  typhoons, and the Centre became a hub to support community recovery once the weather cleared. Over the last few months your donations have helped us deal with the remaining fall out from the typhoons, as well as some important lessons learned.

Firstly we’ve supported some essential maintenance of the Centre. Thanks to your brilliant donations we’ve been able to make some plumbing repairs to the heavily used bathrooms, and also install new solar powered lights. During Rolly and Ulysses our local partner Buklod Tao realised better lights were needed for the evacuees at night. Solar power is always the best option as this reduces reliance on external help and mains power during disasters. Thanks so much for helping to build this important local resilience!

Secondly, another lesson from Rolly and Ulysses came from the flood rescue boats which are built at the Centre. These boats saw heavy action during the typhoons, navigating narrow alleys and fighting heavy currents. Ka Noli, Buklod Tao’s President explained what they realised:

“It was observed that the paddles were used to push forward the boat by pressing the paddles against the walls of houses alongside the flooded street. Also, when the floodwaters were swift the paddles were sometimes no match to the current. There must be one more tool for the boat crews. We would like to provide "Tikin" poles to make the mobility of the boat more efficient by pushing.”

Because of your brilliant donations we’ve since been able to provide fourteen of these Tikin (or quant) poles - one for each of the volunteer boat crews that protect their local communities. Once again, thank you so much for making this vital adaption possible.

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

The poles being manufactured
The poles being manufactured
Some bathroom maintenance
Some bathroom maintenance
One of the new solar lights
One of the new solar lights
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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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Organization Information

International Disaster Volunteers (IDV)

Location: Bristol, Somerset - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @IDVMedia
Project Leader:
Andy Chaggar
Bristol, Somerset United Kingdom
$9,650 raised of $16,000 goal
 
170 donations
$6,350 to go
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