Almost five weeks after super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan fiercely struck the Visayas region in the Philippines, the casualties reported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC: 11 December 2013, 6am) number 5,959, the injured at 27,022 and missing persons at 1,779. Affected communities are in nine regions, 44 provinces and 574 municipalities, 57 cities, and 11,939 barangays.
Together with government agencies, civic organizations, local and international non-government organizations, PRRM and partners have undertaken community needs assessment in seven provinces in three regions, namely:
Region VI (Western Visayas) – assessments complete and used as basis for selection of beneficiaries for ongoing relief and early recovery operations:
Region VII (Central Visayas)
Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) – assessments complete and used as basis for selection of beneficiaries for ongoing relief and early recovery operations:
With our local and international partners and friends, PRRM’s Yolanda response continues in six provinces in the Visayas – Capiz, Aklan, Iloilo and Negros Occidental in Region VI (Western Visayas); Cebu in Region VII (Central Visayas); and Eastern Samar in Region VIII (Eastern Visayas).
In Aklan and Capiz, PRRM is the partner of the Welthungerhilfe (WHH) in conducting the damage and needs assessment in eight towns in Aklan and five towns in Capiz, together with canvassing the local markets for supply and prices of relief and early recovery goods in Iloilo City. Since 15 November, a PRRM-WHH team has been deployed and now with headquarters in Roxas City, coordinating with local stakeholders – non-government organizations (NGOs), governors and mayors of local government units, disaster risk reduction and management councils (DRRMCs), government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Red Cross, and international bodies such as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA).
For the relief operations in Aklan and Capiz provinces, the joint team of PRRM and Welthungerhilfe (WHH) drew up its operational plan by November 27. A warehouse in Roxas City was selected and shelter materials were purchased from Iloilo City which were transported to the team’s operations center in the Grand Gazebo Events Place and Dormitel in Brgy. Baybay, Roxas City, Capiz. The team mobilized local volunteers who helped repackage the goods into shelter kits for the recipient families and community kits for the barangays. The team coordinated logistics preparations such as trucking and security with the local government agencies. Consultations were also made with the municipal and barangay officials and concerned offices (i.e., municipal disaster risk reduction and management councils [MDRRMCs]; social welfare and development offices [MSWDO]; and the sub hub of the UN-OCHA shelter cluster in Roxas City) to ensure proper identification of priority items for the kits, careful selection of recipient families, and proper distribution of goods.
In selecting the priority families, a set of criteria was followed: families with totally destroyed houses; with low or no income; without support received from relatives living outside the town; with no housing support received from other agencies. To ensure that the neediest families were benefitted, further criteria included: families solely supported by women; with sick or disabled family members; with senior citizens; with small children aged 0 to two years; and with four or more children aged 15 years and below.
The target communities identified included all 10 barangays in the town of Balete in Aklan, and 22 of the 24 barangays of Pilar in Capiz (the other 2 barangays were being served by another international NGO, HEKS). Balete is one of the 17 towns in Aklan and is a fourth class agricultural municipality. In 2010, its population was 27,179.
Pilar, one of the 16 municipalities of Capiz, is a third class municipality with a population of 41,572 recorded in the year 2010. The coastal town of Pilar is located in the easternmost part of Capiz and has one of the largest and richest fishing grounds in the Western Visayas region.
On December 6, Friday, the PRRM and WHH team, together with the local volunteers and truckers, loaded the shelter kits onto the eight-wheeler and ten-wheeler trucks parked in the operations center. Each temporary shelter materials family kit contained one hammer, one pair of pliers, one pincer; two kilos of common wire nails; one liter of Vulcaseal water and oil repellant; half a kilo of wire; one solar flashlight; one 4-by-5 square foot tarpaulin; and two mosquito nets. These items were packed and sealed in big plastic boxes.
PRRM President, Mr. Isagani Serrano, and Vice President, Mr. Marlon Palomo, flew in very early in the morning from Manila and joined that day’s workforce, loading big plastic boxes and heavy tarpaulins. Ms. Andrea Padberg, WHH Secretary for Emergency Relief, directed the activities. When the counting and the loading were completed, seven trucks moved the kits to the six distribution centers in the town of Pilar, Capiz.
That Friday morning, 2,500 farming and fishing families from 22 barangays in Pilar ended the week with wide smiles on their faces upon receiving the shelter kits. Despite the strong rains that morning, the PRRM and WHH team, the local volunteers, and the barangay officials diligently and fairly handed out the shelter kits to the male and female heads of the recipient families.
On December 7 and 8, the 22 barangays of Pilar each received 10 community tool kits for sharing among the families in constructing their temporary houses in the next few days. Each community tool kit was a set of two spades; two shovels; two handsaws; two crowbars; one solar charger; and one community lamp.
As standard practice, rounds of courtesy calls were made by Mr. Serrano and Mr. Palomo, together with Ms. Chuchie Arroyo, PRRM’s Team Leader in Panay and former manager of PRRM in Negros Occidental. On December 6, they met with Atty. Jose Villanueva, the Provincial Administrator of Capiz; and the Humanitarian Center of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), together with Engr. Josie Cambel, the Regional Training Specialist of the Regional Department of Social Welfare and Development and former staff of PRRM Negros Occidental.
On the following day, December 7, the PRRM group went on a two-hour trip to Kalibo, Aklan, to meet Governor Florencio Miraflores. Accompanying them was Mr. Manuel Velasco, the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) and a former staff of PRRM in Negros Occidental. They also visited the repacking and distribution site in Balete town.
In Balete, the same process of distributing shelter kits and community tool kits was conducted on December 10. Another 2,500 families from 10 barangays received shelter kits and community tool kits. The distribution was witnessed by Governor Miraflores and PARO Velasco.
WHH also distributed 20 units of portable aqua units for lifesaving (PAULS) in Sara and 8 units in Carles, both towns of Iloilo province.
The PRRM team in Panay is composed of Ma. Azucena Soliguen-Arroyo, Project Coordinator; Joselito Gonzales, Assistant Project Coordinator; Michael Perocho, Community Organizer; Barbara Naraval, Finance & Administrative Officer; and Roxanne Oddie and Al Destacamento, Logistics Officers.
The WHH team in Panay is composed of Birgit Zeitler, Emergency Response Team Leader for WHH Yolanda operations in the Philippines; Markus Fiebiger, WHH consultant on disaster management; Peter Filius, Logistics Officer; Harry Guelker, WASH expert; Susanne Prescher, Programme Administrator for Asia; Juergen Mika, Logistics Officer; Ray Peters, Disaster Specialist; and Elisabeth Biber, Emergency Response Team member.
In the next few days, the PRRM and WHH team will return to the communities to observe and obtain feedback on the use of the shelter kits and community tool kits.
In Iloilo province, the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA) previously organized a humanitarian mission in Brgys. Cabilao Grande and Cabilao Pequeño in Carles town, and Brgy. Sua in San Dionisio town. AMDA, with assistance from PRRM will also distribute 96 units of solar lamps to families in Eastern Samar (municipalities of Giporlos and Balangiga), 108 units in another province in Panay (still being finalized), and 192 units in the Cebu’s northern islands (Doong, Botigues, Lipayran and Kinatarcan) and northern municipalities (Borbon and Daanbantayan). Ms. Tressa Ruelas, PRRM’s friend in Cebu, is helping to identify the target community and recipient families and arrange the distribution of solar lamps.
For the relief operations in Negros Occidental province, approximately one ton of relief goods collected at the PRRM headquarters in Quezon City have been shipped by 2Go Freight to Bacolod City. PRRM-Negros Occidental office will distribute these items to families in Hinigaran, Cadiz and Sagay cities. These goods were donated by the Rotary International District 3800; Manuel P. Manahan Foundation; Araullo High School Batch 1987; the Health Center of Samal town in Bataan province; and PRRM staff, partners and friends.
In Eastern Samar, the PRRM Team composed of Mr. Raymundo Agaton, Area Manager, and Ms. Lorena Dagatan, PME Officer, of PRRM in Camiguin province, together with Mr. Lapo Somigli from the Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC), and friends from the Foundational Center, Inc. (FCI) based in Tacloban City in Leyte province conducted a rapid appraisal assessment from 25-28 November, and submitted a report last November 30 on the conducted assessment in the province, specifically in the towns of Quinapondan, Balangiga and Giporlos.
The team reported that in these areas, almost all houses blocking the path of super typhoon Yolanda were damaged, save for the hardwood posts of some ancestral houses, toilet bowls, and portions of concrete houses. Residents made temporary shelters out of scrap and residual housing materials that could be salvaged from the debris. Other damaged structures included big establishments and school buildings.
Local livelihoods were wiped out. Almost all coconut trees in upland and coastal areas were felled; those that remained standing were damaged (majority beyond recovery) from the storm surge. Fishing boats and gears in all the coastal communities hit by Yolanda were destroyed and rendered useless; and there has been no fishing from the time time the typhoon hit.
Farming households lost their backyard production as cows, carabaos, goats and poultry were killed in the storm surge and floods. All the mechanical dryers set up by the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the farming communities were wrecked. Production and post-harvest equipment such as hand tractors, threshers, driers and farm implements were washed out. The heavy damage to trading and marketing facilities will require a long time and much resources to be fully operational again.
In the uplands, coconut trees and native trees were broken or uprooted. And in the coasts, much of the mangrove and coral areas were ruined.
Local residents are migrating to the major cities of Cebu and Manila and to other neighboring towns and provinces, potentially creating another set of social problems.
Relief work at that time was very minimal, limited and slow. Only a few donors were present in these towns: the Red Cross with bottled water; Sagip Kapamilya with food packs; and the Parañaque Disaster Risk Reduction Team who helped clear the debris. Other assisting agencies were the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Gawad Kalinga, Catholic Relief Services, and Save the Children. They channeled the distribution of relief goods through the local governments.
The immediate and medium term needs identified by community and church leaders interviewed by the team included the following:
Other recommendations made by the team were to enjoin more donors to extend relief assistance in these areas which have not been given priority by both public and private givers; and to create a mechanism to facilitate rapid distribution of relief goods to affected families and barangays.
As an immediate response, relief goods donated by the staff of the United States Embassy in Manila were sent to Giporlos. In addition, GVC will be distributing 300 units of water filters to residents of Quinapondan, in partnership with PRRM, before Christmas day. The cash graciously donated (in total to date: P204,090.35) by the People to People Aid Movement of Japan, PRRM staff and trustees, and PRRM friends in the Netherlands and in the Philippines, was used to acquire vegetable seeds, Christmas gifts for children, and other basic items which will be brought to Eastern Samar (municipalities of Quinapondan, Giporlos and Balangiga).
March 8, 2014, Cocoon Boutique Hotel
Quezon City, Philippines