Help Filipino Communities Prepare for Disaster

by International Disaster Volunteers (IDV)
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A new water pump being installed thanks to you
A new water pump being installed thanks to you

Thanks to your amazing generosity our work to improve the Banaba Livelihood and Evacuation Center, just outside of Manila, has made even more progress since our last report.

In that last report, we announced that the center had finally been made watertight, years after construction had first started. Sadly, the original donor ran out of funds before the building was finished, and this left hundreds of Banaba’s residents without a safe refuge during typhoons and floods.  

So, last December we stepped up to finish the job, and we reached the watertight milestone this April. But more remained to be done, and so we’ve continued this vital work over the last few months.

For example, several sides of the building were still unrendered, and this meant that brick walls - several of them newly built thanks to you - were left unprotected from the torrential rains that arrive every typhoon season.

This would have left the building vulnerable to damage, and with all our recent hard work, this was a situation we clearly wanted to avoid.

Happily, thanks to your further support, we were recently able to purchase enough sand and cement, and also hire a local tradesman, to complete rendering on two more side of the building. This is another fantastic result, thank you so much!

There’s now just one external side of the building left to render, and we’d hoped to finish this in the latest round of work. However, like any building the Evacuation Center also needs ongoing maintenance as well.

For example, while planning the recent rendering work we received this message from Ka Noli, the President of our local partner Buklod Tao:

Just recently i commented in my email message to you that the Center has not been fully finished and yet, maintenance requirements are [also] getting strenuous.

In May 2012, Buklod Tao was able to purchase a second hand 1 horse power water pump for around $200. It has provided water for the center for the past four years. And it conked out last Thursday, 19th May.

I am saddened this morning today with the diagnosis of Gerry, our expert plumber, and member of Buklod Tao Board of Trustees, relative to the status of the water pump. It is already beyond repair, and needs replacement.

So, no water for the entire center!

The water crunch is [already] being felt, and in June 2016 we are expecting sixty youth to spend time here. Having no water provision for the sixty guys would be a big, big headache for us.

We need an A-1 status water pump to last a longer time. May I appeal for the purchase [of a new pump] to be defrayed from the earmarked rendering amount?  

Having no water at an Evacuation Center, which is also used for general community projects, was obviously a problem that needed solving. So, although we were a little disappointed not to be able to finish the rendering, we didn’t hesitate to approve Ka Noli’s request.

And so, thanks to you, the building now also has a brand new, high quality pump to provide water in the years to come.

We still want to complete the remaining rendering of course, And once the building work is done, we’d still like to provide bunk beds and other facilities for the evacuees who will shelter inside the center.

So, we’ll keep fundraising here on GlobalGiving, and of course keep you updated along the way. Once last time, thank you so much for helping the Filipino community of Banaba to prepare for disaster.

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

For more updates about our work please like us on Facebook or follow IDVExec on Twitter. You can also email Andy is you would like to be added to our direct mailing list.

 

Materials arrive to continue rendering the walls
Materials arrive to continue rendering the walls
One side of the building before our latest work
One side of the building before our latest work
The same side after our latest work
The same side after our latest work
Ka Noli sends you his thanks
Ka Noli sends you his thanks

We’re delighted to announce that last month, thanks to your fantastic support, we reached a major milestone with the Banaba Livelihood and Evacuation Center, just outside of Manila.

In our previous project report, sent in February, we explained how construction of the center had stalled at the end of 2013 when the building’s original sponsor ran out of funds. This had left the third floor with unbuilt walls and without windows.

This meant that the building was unusable as an evacuation center during the regular typhoons which strike the country, and hundreds of Banaba’s residents were without a safe refuge as a result.

But in April, thanks to your amazing generosity, our own work on the third floor walls and windows was completed. As a result the evacuation center is now fully watertight at last! This is an amazing milestone for everyone involved, and one that we’re particularly delighted with.  

We’ve had some sort of involvement with the project for about the last four years, and when the original funding issues arose we were keen to help straight away. However, the original partner had always hoped to eventually finish the job themselves, and it wasn’t until last summer that it became clear that this wouldn’t happen.

Even once our own work was given the green light we had to tackle the work in stages, one brick, and one wall, at a time. It’s been a slow, and sometimes frustrating process, but thanks to your continued and enduring generosity we made it!

We can’t thank you enough for making this result possible, but we also wanted to send thanks directly from the community as well. So, we asked our local partners (and caretakers of the evacuation center) Buklod Tao to explain what the work means to them. Here’s what their President, Ka Noli, had to say:

“Since October 2013 the building was an unfinished business. IDV saw it and you had that fraternal resolve with Buklod Tao to make the the center water tight; to render the surfaces of the building’s facades and the interiors of the 3rd floor, and [to provide] the windows and doors, to boot. All done this April 2016! No more rain intrusion, and no chance for thieves’ intrusion also. Thanks to IDV. Thanks to the donors!”

Francia, Buklod Tao’s Treasurer, also wanted to offer her thanks:

“My neighbors and I are so very thankful because the assistance extended to us, the windows and doors at third floor of the evacuation center are finally installed. We are so glad because all the walls at third floor are now so neat to behold. Grateful also because when this year’s rainy season starts, the rain would not enter the MRB and the things inside would not get wet.”

Many others also sent their thanks, including Pablo, one of Buklod Tao’s members who often volunteers his time to help at the center:

“Thank you very much for helping our community. To the donors that made it possible for the completion of the 3rd floor of Banaba Livelihood and Evacuation Center, we owe you our sincere gratitude. I feel so happy and blessed because the building has been installed with windows and doors”

All in all, it’s a joyful time for everyone impacted by and involved in the project.  And none of it would have been possible without your support. Thank you so much.

The work isn’t completely over yet however. Our primary focus has been getting the building watertight before this year’s typhoon season. However, quite a few of the external walls still need rendering to protect the new bricks from the elements. And once the building work is done, we’d also like to provide bunk beds and other facilities for the evacuees who can now shelter inside the center.

So, we’ll keep fundraising here on GlobalGiving, and of course keep you updated as our work proceeds even further. Once last time, thank you so much for helping us to acheive this amazing milestone!

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

For more updates about our work please like us on Facebook or follow IDVExec on Twitter. You can also email Andy is you would like to be added to our direct mailing list.

Your support has also helped Francia
Your support has also helped Francia
Pablo feels happy and blessed because of you
Pablo feels happy and blessed because of you
The center
The center's third floor is now watertight
IDV
IDV's CEO, Andy, and Ka Noli talking work in 2013

Thanks to your amazing generosity our work to improve the Banaba Livelihood and Evacuation Center, just outside of Manila, is beginning to gather pace.

In our previous project report, sent in December, we explained that the building’s original sponsor ran out of funds before construction could be completed.

Walls remained unbuilt, or unrendered, and many windows were also missing. This made the building unusable as an evacuation center, leaving hundreds without a safe refuge during the regular typhoons and floods which strike the community.

But thanks to your wonderful donations work on the center had just restarted when we sent our last report. Since then this work has continued and by the end of January two of the building’s facings (or facades) had several more walls built and rendered, and several new windows had also been installed.

And what’s more your continued support has now allowed us to begin the next stage of work. This new work will continue tackling the overall work remaining one brick wall and window at a time.

Because it’s such a big building, and because there are so many holes in it - both literally and figuratively - one of the best ways to illustrate the progress is through “before” and “after” photos. These are shown below for the building’s “Facade C” (for the work we started in December).

But even with the photos we’ve faced a bit of a challenge communicating back and forth with IDV’s resident agent in Banaba, an amazing gentleman called “Ka (or sir) Noli”.

Ka Noli has been involved in community development for decades and he’s a force of nature in many ways. But he’s also getting on a bit and can struggle using computers at times. Also, while his English is fantastic it’s still a second language to him, and it can be hard for him to communicate building terminology when he’s tired.

So, after many, many emails talking about “rendering this” on “facade that” we decided it was probably easier to go back to basics. And so we recently developed a table detailing the status of each and every facade, wall, window, door and other task still outstanding. This really made a difference and Ka Noli had this to say:

“I really appreciate the innovation you created relative to infos about the evacuation center floors and walls and windows and doors! Kudos.

I will do a round of ocular of 1st,2nd,& 3rd floors and note the current situations and do also some recollections of the initiatives, funding by who and when (my senior moments notwitstanding). Meantime, it is time to water the plants, Andy!

Again, Salamat Po and All the best!"

Seeing the “light-bulb come on over Ka Noli’s head” made us realise that this was a great way we could share the information with you too - after all you’re the ones who are making it all possible!

So, here’s the table detailing the status of the evacuation center’s facades C and D (these are the two that we’re currently focused on).

Between the related before and after photos, and this table, we hope you can now really understand the work we’re undertaking on the center, and why it’s so important to make the building usable in a typhoon.

There’s a lot left to do - there are five more facades (A, B, E, F and G) that all need finishing too. But we’ll continue our work one brick at a time until we get there. So, your donations will continue having an immediate impact, even as we continue to fundraise.

Once last time, thank you so much for making this amazing progress possible!

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Facade C before December, with top windows missing
Facade C before December, with top windows missing
Facade C after, windows and walls added & rendered
Facade C after, windows and walls added & rendered
Noli
Noli's original plans were detailed but confusing
Scaffolding is back up at the Evacuation Center
Scaffolding is back up at the Evacuation Center

Thanks to your fantastic support we’re continuing to work with our partner Buklod Tao to improve the Banaba Livelihood and Evacuation Center, just outside of Manila.

The building’s original sponsor ran out of funds before construction could be completed, and for the last two years the center has remained unfinished.

Many of the walls on the second floor are unrendered, which has left the bare bricks exposed to the elements. On the third floor walls remain unbuilt and many windows are also missing.

The building is intended to act as an evacuation center during the regular typhoons which strike the country. But, with the inside still exposed to the elements, there’s no way it can provide protection during disasters. As a result hundreds of Banaba’s residents still don’t have a safe refuge when the worst inevitably happens again.

So, over previous months we’ve been raising funds to continue work on the building. Now, thanks to you, we’re excited to report that construction is forging ahead once again.

Firstly, we’ve made a start on the unfinished rendering. We’d originally hoped to avoid this step by giving the building a living skin of plants. But we’ve now decided that the brickwork should receive the additional protection of render as well.

The finished walls are still being covered in beautiful “creeping charlies” but this is now being done after the render is applied.

Secondly, we’ll also soon be tackling the unbuilt brick walls and missing windows. This is a bigger job and we still need to raise over $12,000 to complete this section of the work. Happily though the project can be tackled in stages, one brick wall and window at a time.

So, your donations will continue having an immediate impact, even as we continue to fundraise.

What’s more, GlobalGiving is offering some great donation incentives throughout December.

For example, there’s match funding available for any new recurring donations set up during the month.

On the US GlobalGiving site your initial donation will receive a 100% match after four months (a limit of $200 applies). On the UK site the terms are the same but the matching limit is £100.

Recurring donations are particularly valuable for this project as the work will be ongoing into next year. And being able to plan on continued support will make the work more effective in the long term.

All in all December is a great month to continue your support of this vital project. Together we can give all of Banaba’s residents a safe refuge in 2016!

As always, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

The top floor of the building is still wide open
The top floor of the building is still wide open
But we
But we're making progress one wall at a time
Your donations can be matched until the new year
Your donations can be matched until the new year

Links:

The Banaba Evac Center is being covered in plants!
The Banaba Evac Center is being covered in plants!

The work your amazing generosity has made possible in Banaba over the last year is leading to some fantastic impacts!

In our January report we highlighted how you’d helped construct a greenhouse at the Banaba Livelihood and Evacuation Center. Our partner in Banaba, Buklod Tao, use the greenhouse to nurture seedlings as part of an “urban container gardening” initiative. This initiative teaches families how to grow vegetables in limited space to provide better nutrition and food security.

The gardening initiative is very successful in its own right but the yield from the greenhouse has recently been put to even more use.

The center itself is a three storey building that was originally built by another organisation. But their funding sadly ran out before construction could be finished. One of the tasks left incomplete was the external rendering of the building. Without render the building’s bricks are exposed to the elements, putting them at risk of damage over time. Also, the exposed concrete blocks are pretty ugly.

The materials needed to render the building - namely sand and cement - would be expensive for a structure as large as the center. So, for almost two years the bricks have remained exposed.

But Buklod Tao are ever resourceful and we’ve recently been working with them on an innovative solution. The greenhouse is able to produce so many seedlings that work recently started to cover the center with a living, breathing skin of plants!

The process starts by securing a steel mesh to the the outside walls of the building. This material is relatively cheap and allows the quick and easy securing of planter boxes to the walls.

These planter boxes are made from recycled juice containers reclaimed from the waterways and streets of the community. This in itself reduces pollution as the containers would normally either remain in the water, or be burned, which releases toxic fumes.

Instead these upcycled juice boxes now contain plants which are attached to the center’s walls. When these plants grow they provide many benefits.

Firstly, they soak up the rains which would normally damage the building’s bricks over time. Secondly, they provide an additional layer of insulation, which in the very tropical Philippines helps to keep the building cooler. Thirdly, as the plants grow they suck up carbon dioxide. As climate change is leading to more typhoons this is particularly apt way to protect the walls of an evacuation center! Finally, the plants create a beautiful green covering instead of conventional drab concrete walls.

We think this is a great solution to the missing render on the building and, once again, your support has been vital to its success. As well as supporting the original greenhouse construction your donations also provided the gondola we discussed in our July report.

This gondola is suspended from the centre’s strong steel roof frame and provides a safe, enclosed platform from which work securing the plants can be undertaken.

We think it’s fantastic how this relatively simple support, of the greenhouse and gondola, is now having such a great impact. Thank you so much!

As always, if you ever have any queries about how we’re using your donation, please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.

The plants provide a living, breathing "skin"
The plants provide a living, breathing "skin"
The plants come from the greenhouse you provided
The plants come from the greenhouse you provided
 

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Organization Information

International Disaster Volunteers (IDV)

Location: Bristol, Somerset - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.idvolunteers.org
Project Leader:
Andy Chaggar
Bristol, Somerset United Kingdom

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