More than 3,000 people in risk-prone communities in BARMM have better access to market and financial services

Together with the United States Agency for International Developments’ Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, we launched in April 2020 a two-year disaster risk reduction project. In the past two years, we have been working with our partner communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in ensuring that they are better prepared and more resilient against disasters.

One of the project’s approach was to introduce the culture of savings to participating families. They were introduced to financial systems through registration in online financial platforms. 50 community savings groups (CSGs) were organized. This was one of the strategies that paved the way for beneficiary households to integrate savings in their efforts towards financial sufficiency.


“Thank you so much for teaching us to value of having our own savings. We never prioritized this before…I have a lot of kids that I need to send to school. That is why I need to have my own savings for the benefit of my children.

– Samrah Tayuan, Community Savings Group Member


Aligned to the provisions of Republic Act 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)’s Operation Listo for Municipalities, the project’s main goal is to strengthen local government and community capacities towards resilience in municipalities which are high risk and vulnerable to natural hazards in Mindanao, Philippines.

A total of 3,750 people also have better access to market and financial services through the of the ‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ project.

Overall, we were able to reach 17,601 people with our activities that are in line with Risk Management Policy & Practice; Agriculture & Food Security; and Economic Recovery and Market Systems (ERMS).


For more information, check out the Project Catalogue


‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ is a disaster risk reduction project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger. Read more

Resilience Project in BARMM impacts 5,080 people with improved risk management policies & practices

The United States Agency for International Developments’ Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance together with Action Against Hunger launched in April 2020 a two-year disaster risk reduction project. In the past two years, we have been working with our partner communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in ensuring that they are better prepared and more resilient against disasters.

For example, we helped the five covered municipalities in improving and updating their existing DRRM Plans and contingency plans, aligned to the Office of Civil Defense’s (OCD) standard forms and required contents. In coordination with the OCD of BARMM, we then provided the technical resource and facilitated the workshops.


“Before Action Against Hunger came, we didn’t know how to handle calamities…Now that we do, we now understand what an early warning system does. We can now stand on our own. We learned a lot such as how to manage our people during disasters and similar situations.

– Nasiba Kasim Maguid, Barangay Captain of Liong, Datu Salibo


Aligned to the provisions of Republic Act 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)’s Operation Listo for Municipalities, the project’s main goal is to strengthen local government and community capacities towards resilience in municipalities which are high risk and vulnerable to natural hazards in Mindanao, Philippines.

We were able to impact 5,080 people by improving local government and communities’ capacity in preparing for and mitigating disaster impact through training, and planning processes.  This was made possible due to the efforts of the ‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ project.

Overall, we were able to reach 17,601 people with our activities that are in line with Risk Management Policy & Practice; Agriculture & Food Security; and Economic Recovery and Market Systems (ERMS).


For more information, check out the Project Catalogue


‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ is a disaster risk reduction project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger. Read more

8,771 people benefit from enhanced agri-aquaculture production systems and food security

Planting is like preparing for a calamity: it entails a lot of hard work and requires thoroughness. It is not easy. But all this will surely pay off as the fruits of this labor will give an abundant harvest not only for one but for the benefit of the whole community.

In the past two years, we have been working with our partner communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao in ensuring that they are better prepared and more resilient against disasters.

For example, we focused on diversifying and increasing the access of BARMM communities to agriculture and aquaculture productivity so that in times of disasters, people will have enough resources and food supply.


“When there’s severe flooding, our crops get destroyed. We feel bad because we lose a lot of income. We borrow money… and when the flood occurs, we are forced to re-apply for loans. That’s why farmers find it hard to earn.

When we started doing the [climate outlook] seminars, it became very beneficial for us because we learned what months the rainy and summer seasons occur. With this, we know when the rainy season happens, so we can protect our crops,”

– Gairon Guimbang, one of the farmers who participated in the Climate Outlook Fora for Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.


Aligned to the provisions of Republic Act 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)’s Operation Listo for Municipalities, the project’s main goal is to strengthen local government and community capacities towards resilience in municipalities which are high risk and vulnerable to natural hazards in Mindanao, Philippines.

A total of 8,771 people benefit from improved agriculture and aquaculture production systems and food security through the efforts of the ‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ project.

Overall, we were able to reach 17,601 people with our activities that are in line with Risk Management Policy & Practice; Agriculture & Food Security; and Economic Recovery and Market Systems (ERMS).


For more information, check out the Project Catalogue


‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ is a disaster risk reduction project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger. Read more

PRESS RELEASE: Humanitarian organizations to launch Typhoon Odette photo exhibit in Siargao, highlight need of survivors

Press Release | August 13, 2022

Humanitarian organizations will be launching a photo exhibit in Siargao next week to raise awareness about the impact of Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) and the concerted efforts of residents and various groups in rebuilding the affected communities.

The photo exhibition dubbed “The Last Mile,” which will open on August 15, 6 p.m. at the Siago Beach Resort in General Luna, Siargao Island, just a few days before the commemoration of the World Humanitarian Day (August 19).

The event is organized by non-government organizations and local government units working on the Typhoon Odette Response. The aim of the event is to urge the national government and other stakeholders to not forget those most vulnerable in times of disaster.

It will feature almost a hundred images captured by organizations who implemented the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (EU-ECHO)-supported emergency response for the survivors of Typhoon Odette: ACCORD, Action Against Hunger, Care Philippines, Humanity & Inclusion, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc., National Rural Women’s Coalition, Oxfam Pilipinas, Plan International, Save the Children Philippines, and Sentro para sa Ikauunlad ng Katutubong Agham at Teknolohiya (SIKAT) Inc.

European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron will be giving a message at the opening event of the exhibit, followed by presentations by the participating organizations.

“We want to showcase these powerful images to show just how devastating typhoons are to marginalized and remote communities in the Philippines. We also want to show what we can do together to save lives and reduce the risks and impacts of disasters,” said Oxfam Pilipinas Country Director Lot Felizco.

“With climate change, we expect more intense typhoons to hit the Philippines. We hope the exhibit will also give people hope that something can be done and is being done to strengthen our communities against future disasters and to help them recover from Typhoon Odette,” she added.

CARE Philippines Country Director David Gazashvili said the exhibit will also show the achievements and challenges that residents and humanitarian organizations face eight months after the devastation of Typhoon Odette.

“The exhibit shows how the quick and substantial funding from the EU-ECHO, the power of communities, women and men, boys and girls working together and collaborating with humanitarian actors have effectively addressed urgent humanitarian needs, especially of those who need the most assistance. But it also brings to the surface the challenges of prioritizing disaster-preparedness, risk reduction, and climate change mitigation and adaption,” he added.

EU-ECHO’s funding of the Typhoon Odette emergency response has enabled the provision  of emergency services to almost half a million individuals in Bohol, Cebu, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Negros Occidental, Palawan, and Surigao del Norte through the implementation of two consortia: one led by CARE, with ACCORD Inc., National Rural Women’s Coalition, Plan International, and Action Against Hunger; and another led by  Oxfam Pilipinas and jointly implemented by Save the Children and Humanity & Inclusion (HI), together with local partners SIKAT Inc. and IDEALS Inc.

The joint efforts of the groups resulted in the distribution of food and livelihood assistance to 70,643 individuals; water, sanitation and hygiene packs for 75,394; protection assistance for 147,549; shelter provision for 72,902; health services for 68,317; and “education in emergency” assistance for 41,205.

Besides attending the photo exhibit, the EU ambassador will also be visiting Pilar in Siargao Island to observe EU-ECHO-funded activities such as the “Education in Emergency” component of the project in Caridad Elementary School. As part of the Typhoon Odette Emergency Response, the school’s teachers received training, supplies and a multi-purpose learning space where “return to learning” sessions are being held. The consortium also assisted in the construction of the multi-learning space and the repair of the damaged classrooms, which will also be turned over next week

For the coming months, the groups will continue to provide the same support for the most affected communities in Bohol, Cebu, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Negros Occidental, Palawan, and Surigao del Norte.


FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES AND COORDINATION:

Kristine Sabillo Guerrero | Senior Officer for Media and Digital Influencing, Oxfam Pilipinas
0917 569 1449

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Supporting livelihoods, caring for families and communities

A family’s livelihood is a means of securing necessities in life. During disasters and humanitarian emergencies, livelihood is one of the most affected areas, thus affecting families. Almost five months after Typhoon Odette, families in Siargao are still trying to bring theirs back.

Before the storm

The community relies on agricultural produce. Leah’s husband, Julito, asks for coconut shells from copra owners to make charcoal since they do not own a farm. He then sells the charcoal and brings 800 to 1,000-peso income a day. Sometimes, they only have 300 pesos when raw materials are scarce.

After spending on food and other necessities, Leah would use the spare as capital to buy goods for their small sari-sari store.

In photo: Leah fills her basket with goods after receiving the cash assistance (Photo by Aliana Gene Sarmiento for Action Against Hunger)

Losing two birds with one disaster

When the area was placed under Typhoon Signal No. 3 last December 14, the family evacuated to a nearby school and left their house and store for hours in fear for their lives.

Leah and her husband came back three days after to find their store toppled and the goods buried in the mud. Leah said her heart sank at the sight of it. She burrowed through the debris to save the undamaged products just so she could still have items to sell.

Her husband however was left jobless after Odette had wiped away hectares of the coconut farms.

“Akong taglig-on ang akong kaugalingon.”

“I try to remain strong,” says Leah Compra-Navales, after their family survived Typhoon Odette. Makabangon-bangon na man ginagmay. “We are coping up, slowly,” she added even though they have lost their livelihood to the typhoon.

 

Restoring the local economy as a community

Leah’s family is among the 52 households from Barangay Libertad in the municipality of Sta. Monica that received cash assistance for livelihood restoration. Action Against Hunger’s Typhoon Odette Emergency Response in Caraga gave 10,150 pesos for each affected household in Siargao alone. This is done through the funding of the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and support from our consortium partners. The assistance under the Emergency Recovery Market System (ERMS) component aims to assist households to re-establish their livelihoods and restore the local economy.

Along with others affected within the community of Libertad, they also received non-food items, hygiene kits, and cash assistance of 5,150 pesos per household for food supplies from Action Against Hunger previous USAID-funded activities.

In photo: Leah receives the cash assistance during the ERMS payout. (Photo by Aliana Gene Sarmiento for Action Against Hunger)

A step closer to livelihood recovery

After receiving ERMS cash assistance, Leah immediately used the money to purchase goods from a local general merchandise store. She filled her baskets with canned goods, sugar, condiments, laundry soap, and more products they could sell. She then filled the display racks in their store with more goods.

In photo: Leah fills her basket with goods after receiving the cash assistance (Photo by Aliana Gene Sarmiento for Action Against Hunger)

Leah said that with the capital they can earn a small steady income every day, and they will not worry about food in the meantime. She is thankful for the opportunity to restart their small business through the help of Action Against Hunger and other organizations.

In photo: Leah’s daughter sits in front of their freshly-stocked store. (Photo by Aliana Gene Sarmiento for Action Against Hunger)

The “Emergency Assistance to Support Local Recovery Capacity of Families and Communities Affected by Typhoon Odette in Caraga,” an emergency response project funded by the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) which is jointly implemented by Action Against Hunger Philippines, CARE Philippines, ACCORD Incorporated, Agri-Aqua Development Coalition – Mindanao, and Relief International. 


Written by Aliana Gene Sarmiento

Staying healthy and safe in times of crisis

“I still remember how hard the wind and rain were that night. The children were crying out of fear.”

These were the words of 34-year-old Geraldine Quire-Quire as she recalls their night at the evacuation center when Typhoon Odette (internationally named Rai) made landfall in Siargao on the 16th of December 2021. As a mother, her family’s safety is her top priority.

Already pregnant with their third child, Geraldine had to take care of their two children and her disabled aunt by herself in the wake of Odette’s rampage. Geraldine’s husband was away in the city working as a watchman at the time.

The intensity of the typhoon was a horrific experience for the children, according to her. To make matters worse, they went home to find that the typhoon had partially damaged their house.

Months later, Geraldine finds some comfort in the life-saving support they received different organizations and government agencies. They are one of the families in Barangay Opong in Taganaan, Surigao del Norte who received water, sanitation, & hygiene materials from UNICEF Philippines through Action Against Hunger’s Super Typhoon Emergency WASH Response in Caraga. According to Geraldine, some of the items will prove to be useful when she gives birth.

 

Geraldine also participated in the hygiene promotion sessions of Action Against Hunger. After hearing reminders on COVID safety and how to practice proper hygiene and sanitation, she was eager to teach her children these hygiene habits.

In photo: Geraldine teaches her eldest daughter how to properly wash hands with soap and water based on what she learned from Action Against Hunger’s hygiene promotion sessions. (Photos by Abdul Alim Talusob for Action Against Hunger)

As of July 18, we have reached 81,957 people in Surigao del Norte with life-saving WASH support. Aside from giving access to safe water and sanitation services, our goal is to ensure that families like Geraldine’s adopt and sustain proper hygiene practices.

Our Super Typhoon Odette Emergency WASH Response in CARAGA is funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Fund (UN CERF), the Republic of Korea, and the Government of Japan through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Philippines


Written by Adam Lacson, edited by Joyce Sandajan Read more

STORIES FROM THE FIELD: Breaking bias in times of emergencies

Alam ko kasi yung hirap sa tubig dito sa amin. Lalo na ngayong bumagyo, hindi kami siguradong malinis yung tubig mula sa balon…Ginagawa ko ito ‘di lang para sa pamilya ko, kundi para sa buong baryo namin dahil alam ko yung hirap namin sa tubig rito.”

I know how difficult the water situation is in our area. Especially after the typhoon, we’re not sure if the water from the deep well is clean. I [volunteer] not only for my family but also for our whole village because I know how hard it is for us to get water here.)
Daisy A. Jumandos, Monitoring Volunteer, 39 years old and resident of Barangay Magsaysay, General Luna, (Siargao Islands, Surigao del Norte)

Daisy Jumandos and her family were one of the residents of Barangay Magsaysay, General Luna in the islands of Siargao caught in the eye of Super Typhoon Odette when it made landfall on December 16, 2021.

In photo: Daisy Jumandos | Photo by Adam Daniel Lacson for Action Against Hunger (2022 March 03, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

According to 39-year-old, their family received news of an incoming storm, but were clueless of its strength and magnitude. Daisy shared the horror that she, her husband, and their three children had endured after being trapped in their home when Odette was at its strongest. “Hindi na kami nakapaghanda o nakatakbo. Biglaang dumilim yung buong paligid na hindi na namin makita kahit ang mga kapitbahay. Napakalakas ng hangin kaya di na rin kami nakalabas ng bahay. Nagsiliparan ang bubong namin.’ (We could no longer prepare for it nor evacuate. It suddenly became dark outside, so much so that we couldn’t even see the neighbors. The wind was so strong that we could not get out of the house. Our roof flew off.)”

According to her, they thought that they weren’t going to make it out alive. “Sabi ng panganay ko, ‘Ma! Kalian kalian ba ito titigil? Nag-iiyakan na kami at akala namin ay heto na ang katapusan namin. (My eldest [child] said, ‘mom, when will this stop? We were crying and we thought it was the end of us.),” Daisy added.

After Odette, the situation of the Jumandos family, like many others affected, was bleak. “We endured [our situation] for a while,” she explained. Their family already did not have a regular source of income since the pandemic. So, when they needed to prioritize saving up for house repairs—distilled water or octane for cooking became necessities that they could no longer afford.

By February 2022, Action Against Hunger installed water bladders in the affected communities of the Caraga region which have limited access to potable water. This was part of the Super Typhoon Odette WASH Emergency Response supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Central Emergency Fund (UN CERF).

“I know how difficult the water situation is in our area. Especially after the typhoon, we are not sure if the water from the deep well is clean… It is important for me to have clean water here in the community, that is what drives me to handle the water situation here. I am proud that I was chosen as a volunteer because I want to do something for our community,”

As one of the parent-leaders in their barangay, Daisy volunteered to help monitor the water bladders. “Alam ko kasi yung hirap sa tubig dito sa amin. Lalo na ngayong bumagyo, hindi kami siguradong malinis yung tubig mula sa balon… (I know how difficult the water situation is in our area. Especially after the typhoon, we are not sure if the water from the deep well is clean,)” were Daisy’s sentiments.

Photo by Arjay Gaylon for Action Against Hunger

She further shared about her motivation and how she takes pride in her volunteer work, saying “importante kasi sa akin na may malinis na tubig kami rito sa baryo, iyon nagtutulak sa akin na alagaan yung tubigan rito. Proud rin ako na napili ako bilang volunteer dahil gusto kong may nagagawa ako para sa community namin. (It is important for me to have clean water here in the community, that is what drives me to handle the water situation here. I am proud that I was chosen as a volunteer because I want to do something for our community.)”

“My family offers support in other tasks. For example, if I have chores at home, the children will help manage [the water bladders],”

Daisy also breaks the bias on gender roles as she takes on and delegates different tasks both inside and outside their home. She shared that after Typhoon Odette, she has been hands-on in repairing their house. She mixes cement and helps in carrying the materials needed for their repairs. When asked if she finds it challenging, she said that, “kaagapay ko ang pamilya ko sa mga gawain. Halimbawa, kung mag ginagawa ako sa bahay, tumutulong mga anak ko sa pag-asikaso sa tubigan. Hindi naman it istorbo dahil alam kong para sa aming lahat ito eh. (My family offers support in other tasks. For example, if I have chores at home, the children will help manage [the water bladders].”

For Daisy, gender equality in the household can be achieved when men, women, boys, and girls can truly communicate and understand each other. In any aspect of decision-making in their lives, Daisy shares that it is important to discuss and share opinions openly, as well as have equal voices when it comes to making plans. It is a sign of mutual respect.

In photo: Daisy Jumandos | Photo by Adam Daniel Lacson for Action Against Hunger (2022 March 03, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

Not only motivated by her family, Daisy also shares she gets inspiration from her neighbors. “Ginagawa ko ito ‘di lang para sa pamilya ko, kundi para sa buong baryo namin dahil alam ko yung hirap namin sa tubig rito. (I [volunteer] not only for my family but also for our whole village because I know how hard it is for us to get water here),” she added.

Around 650 people in Barangay Magsaysay are now able to access potable water for free through the newly installed water bladders.

The Super Typhoon WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA is implemented by Action Against Hunger with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Written by Queen Harley Musico, Abdul-Alim Talusob, Adam Daniel Lacson | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan
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For cleaner and healthier communities: UNICEF and Action Against Hunger train volunteers on hygiene and health

Super Typhoon Odette (internationally named Rai) left thousands of families in Caraga with limited access to clean water and proper  hygiene facilities last December 2021. So much so that open defecation has grown rampant in some communities due to the lack of available latrines.

Together with UNICEF, we have been inspiring and teaching communities the value of good hygiene in keeping children and families healthy during times of calamities.

In photo: WASH Project Staff and community health volunteers review the proper handwashing technique through demonstration in the Municipality of Del Carmen. | Photos by Benjie Montilla, Adam Daniel Lacson, Victoria Valderama and Abdul-Alim Talusob for Action Against Hunger (2022 March 18, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

From March 15 to 18, community health volunteers and rural sanitary inspectors from all 32 barangays of the municipalities of General Luna, Burgos, San Benito and Del Carmen in the Siargao Islands took part in the water, sanitation, & hygiene (WASH) training organized by Action Against Hunger through the support of the UNICEF and UN CERF.  

“This re-orientation regarding sanitation can help prevent the spread of diseases since some of the people have been practicing open defecation,” said one of the participants. According to them, it has been a while since they started new activities about educating their neighborhood.

In photo: WASH Engineer explains and demonstrates the water quality testing activities of Action Against Hunger to selected Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) from the Municipality of Gen. Luna. | Photos by Benjie Montilla, Adam Daniel Lacson, Victoria Valderama and Abdul-Alim Talusob for Action Against Hunger (2022 March 15, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

The participants shared what they know about water contamination and water-borne diseases, all while talking about the importance of sanitation, and common hygiene practices.

Team members of our Super Typhoon Odette WASH Emergency Response proceeded to discuss in more detail the topics concerning water quality testing, community-applicable methods to purify and store water, dangers of fecal-oral transmission, and proper hygiene techniques. Additional discussions on preventing COVID-19 were also conducted. The communities were also given tips on conducting education sessions, and new methods to pique the community members’ interest.

In photo: Training participants planned and presented their Activity Plans regarding WASH education sessions in Mun. of Del Carmen. | Photos by Benjie Montilla, Adam Daniel Lacson, Victoria Velderama and Abdul-Alim Talusob for Action Against Hunger (2022 March 18, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

Most of the invited barangay participants have identified misconceptions regarding water quality and the use of water purifiers. Others focused on household methods to purify water, even during emergency situations. Initially, their health promotions focused community-led discussions to reduce open defecation, as well as methods to reduce cases of schistosomiasis, better waste management to reduce dengue, and hygiene promotion targeting the youth and lactating mothers.

At the end of the training, each barangay created their own WASH-related activity plan that they could implement and share in their own communities. Each activity contains topics from the discussion, but they were given the leeway to discuss topics that concern their respective areas.

By building the capacities of our local partners in health and WASH, we are hoping to reach around 3,500 people through the education activities of the health volunteers in General Luna alone.

Photos by Benjie Montilla, Adam Daniel Lacson, Victoria Valderama and Abdul-Alim Talusob for Action Against Hunger

The Super Typhoon WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA is implemented by Action Against Hunger with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Written by Queen Harley Musico, Abdul-Alim Talusob, Adam Daniel Lacson | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan

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Around 1,250 flood-affected residents receive hygiene kits through REACH

Almost four months after Typhoon Odette, the central and southern parts of the Philippines are faced with another mishap when Tropical Storm Agaton (internationally named Megi) had left almost 307,500 people displaced.

Heavy rainfall had left Maguindanao flooded for two weeks since April 7, 2022. This has caused a tremendous impact on the health and livelihood of families living in all 14 barangays in Mamasapano—especially in accessing and maintaining hygiene and health protection.

In photo: Barangay Lusay, Mamasapano (Photo courtesy of Mamasapano Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Office)

With funding support from the European Union Humanitarian Aid, the REACH project launched an emergency kit distribution last April 21 to support almost 1,250 flood-affected families in Maguindanao. The distribution was facilitated by Action Against Hunger and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

Many of the participating families rely on agriculture as their main source of income. Now that crops have been damaged by the flooding, they worry that the lack of sustainable income will deprive them of access to their health and hygiene needs.

Working closely with the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office (MDRRMO) and Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) of Mamasapano, we identified persons with disabilities to be prioritized in the said distribution. A total of 250 families were able to receive hygiene kits.

The selection of PWDs was advised by the MDRRMO and MSWDO due to the group’s increased vulnerability to health risks brought about by the flooding. In Mamasapano alone, more than 4,000 families are reportedly affected by the storm.

The ‘Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao and the Visayas Affected by Conflict, Disasters, and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (REACH) Project is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and is implemented by ACCORD IncorporatedAction Against Hunger PhilippinesCARE PhilippinesCommunity Organizers MultiversityInitiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc.Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)United Youth of the Philippines-Women and Oxfam Pilipinas.


Written by Dennis Alcy Ellorimo | Edited by Joyce Sandajan Read more

Stories from the Field: Full of Smile, Full of Hope

A day before Typhoon Odette (internationally referred to as Typhoon Rai) made landfall in the Philippines, more than 400 residents of Barangay Bilang-bilangan  evacuated from their island community. Grace Obguia and her family were among them. 

BOHOL  — Grace never imagined that their living situation would change completely overnight. Together with her husband and three children, they spent the night of December 15 at Tubigon Cultural Center located in the mainland area of Tubigon Municipality. 

Around 5:40 pm on the 16th of December 2021, Typhoon Odette was ravaging the nearby municipalities of Carlos P. Garcia and Bien Unido. 

More than two months have passed but Grace still gets teary-eyed whenever she recalls the ordeal they had faced. “We could hear the winds howling and my children wouldn’t stop crying,” she shares. “All I could do was pray hard for everyone’s safety.” 

Their anxiety continued to build up when the first floor of the cultural center became flooded due to the storm surge. This forced them to transfer to the second floor of the building despite the heavy rain. They stayed there for several hours waiting for the storm to pass while being completely drenched from the floodwater. 

After spending two days in the evacuation center, they went back to the island only to be greeted by further dismay. What was once paved with quaint homes and vibrant coconut trees is now filled with Odette’s wreckage. The Obguia family’s home that stood along the shoreline was completely washed out. Disheartened and without a roof over their heads, the family decided to clear some of the debris and spend the night along the shore. 

“We could hear the winds howling and my children wouldn’t stop crying,”

Within the next few days, Grace’s family found some comfort through the support of various people and organizations. Food assistance was readily available for many of the affected families. They also received cash assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which they partly used to purchase basic shelter materials. This allowed them to rebuild a modest home, this time a bit farther from the shoreline. 

Bilang-bilangan is a quaint island located in the Municipality of Tubigon, Bohol. Surrounded by clear blue waters, many residents like Grace and her husband mainly relied on fishing for their livelihood. After the typhoon, they did not have a regular source of income because their fishing nets were all damaged. When food packs became scarce, they would catch mussels and other shellfish for their personal consumption. In rare cases, Grace would borrow some money from her friends in the mainland so she could buy for the needs of their 3-year old child. 

Grace is thankful for any chance that she could save money.  Action Against Hunger, through the Typhoon Odette Response of the EU-funded REACH project, provided her a hygiene kit that included soap, toothbrush, and other hygiene products that would last for a month, sparing her expenses on keeping her family clean and sanitary. 

Photo by Roussam Dilig for Action Against Hunger

Despite the ordeal that she and her family have been through, Grace smiles as she thinks about all the help they have received since the calamity. She is hopeful and remains positive that there will only be better days ahead. 

Photo by Roussam Dilig for Action Against Hunger

The Typhoon Odette Emergency Response of the REACH Project (Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao and the Visayas Affected by Conflict, Disasters, and the COVID-19 Pandemic) is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and is implemented by ACCORD IncorporatedAction Against Hunger PhilippinesCARE PhilippinesCommunity Organizers MultiversityInitiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc.Plan International PhilippinesPhilippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)Save the Children PhilippinesUnited Youth of the Philippines-Women and Oxfam Pilipinas.


Written by Roussam Dilig | Edited by Joyce Sandajan Read more