“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
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GENERAL LUNA, SIARGAO — Jomel Flores, 31 years old, a member of the LGBT community, and her family were among the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who were severely impacted by Typhoon Odette’s fury in the islands of Siargao last December 2021. According to her, it was the most horrifying and distressing experience she’s ever had so far in her life.
Rai made its landfall on December 16, 2021 bringing torrential rains, violent winds, floods and storm surges. Jomel and her family took refuge at Anajawan Elementary School in the Municipality of General Luna. They had been warned that the typhoon would be powerful, but when it came, it was significantly more powerful than the locals had anticipated. They were astonished, scared, and afraid when the wind began to blow erratically, pelting them with heavy showers. During that time, children and adults were screaming and crying and all she could do at that second was to pray harder that it will come to pass.
Their experience in the evacuation facility was really difficult, she says. With COVID-19 still a threat, it worried her that there was no social distancing, and they could only use one comfort room.
After spending three days at the evacuation center, they returned home only to find out that their house had been partially destroyed, with some of their roof gone, causing their personal belongings to become damp and damaged. This rendered Jomel speechless and all she could think at that moment was to cry. Despite the fact that it was the saddest and most agonizing event she had ever had, she was still thankful that all of her family members were safe and alive. “That was the most important thing, material stuffs may be replaced, but life will never be replaced,” she says.
It’s been months since Typhoon Odette, but Jomel still sheds tears every time she remember the horrific experience they went through. Despite being one of the most frightening experiences they’ve had, Jomel is thankful that all of their family members are alive and safe. “That’s the most important thing. Material stuff come and go, but one’s life can never be replaced,” she says
Her hope for the future is to become financially stable and to open a large ihaw-ihaw (barbecue) store to support her family. She also wants to make a modest contribution to her community by offering inexpensive healthy meals. She aspires to be the change she wishes to see in the world.
The Flores family is among the thousands of affected families in Surigao del Norte who were given life-saving water, sanitation, & hygiene support immediately after Typhoon Odette made landfall on December 16.
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“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.
“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.
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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
https://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/UNICEF_AAH_2022-0317_Adam-Lacson_WASH-Training-CHVs_Siargao-14-scaled.jpg16952560Adminhttps://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/logo_text_orig_white-1.pngAdmin2022-05-17 06:08:542022-05-27 04:34:38For cleaner and healthier communities: UNICEF and Action Against Hunger train volunteers on hygiene and health
SURIGAO DEL NORTE — Reynaldo Gemparo, Jr. or ‘Jun’ as he’s known by everyone, dropped out of school after finishing the third grade at 13 years old. Since then, he’s been helping his father earn extra income for both of them. Jun is the youngest son of his namesake, 69-year-old Reynaldo Gemparo, Sr. Together, they live in Barangay Magsaysay of the Siargao Islands. Jun helps his father in their day-to-day chores especially if it involves lifting heavy items.
When our team first met him, he had just refilled a water container from the newly installed water bladders in their barangay. Siargao was severely affected by Super Typhoon Odette (internationally named Rai) after making landfall in the Philippines last December 16, 2021.
Before the landfall, the Gemparos had evacuated to their neighbor’s house but the strong winds nearly wiped out that home too. Eight of them were packed in the comfort room as the storm wrecked the roof and all parts of the house. In the middle of that chaos, Jun said he saw fear in the eyes of those around him, including his father. They felt helpless as the wind raged above their heads. After that ordeal, the father and son soon realized that their home and livelihood had succumbed to the typhoon. Despite the devastation, Jun is thankful that they survived unscathed, and the fear quickly subsided.
The harsh typhoon had not only damaged several water pipes but also polluted their deep-well water source. After the storm, access to potable water became a problem. The water from the community’s deep well started tasting bad. It wasn’t until our water, sanitation, & hygiene (WASH) engineers tested the source and eventually confirmed that the water was indeed contaminated and unsafe for consumption.
To get clean water for drinking and cooking, the residents of Barangay Magsaysay use either boiled rainwater or opt to buy filtered water sold at 50 pesos per gallon. However, with summer around the corner, they know they would have to resort to buying water instead—an additional expense to their daily necessities. When two new water bladders were installed in their community, the Gemparo’s and the rest of the residents now had less to worry about.
Through the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Central Emergency Fund (UN CERF), potable water was easily made available through the Super Typhoon Odette Emergency WASH Response implemented by Action Against Hunger Philippines in Caraga. After refilling the water container, Jun made his way back to their relative’s house where he and Reynaldo Sr. are now temporarily residing while they gradually work their way back to their normal life.
To help support their small family, Jun participates in crab fishing which then became their main source of income. Prior to Typhoon Odette, Jun would usually earn 200 pesos a day from catching crabs. On good days, he sometimes earned up to 1,000 pesos from tourists. After losing their boat to the typhoon, the father and son are left with no source of income. Nowadays, they rely on donations, financial support from relatives, and their remaining savings.
At his age, Jun already knows how to step up and be the head of the household. When asked about his dreams, his eyes lit up as he quietly replied, “makabalik sa eskwela” (to go back to school). He went on to add that he wants to learn another skill so he can have a good job in the future.
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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 ofTubigon, 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.
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SURIGAO DEL NORTE — A few days before Typhoon Odette (internationally named Rai) made landfall in the Philippines, Luzviminda’s youngest son and his family moved in to stay with her home in Barangay Day-asan, Surigao City. “My son with his wife and child just returned to Siargao from Manila with the hope to raise their family here,” she shared.
At 72 years old, Luzviminda and her family make a living through coconut farming. This was brought to an abrupt end when Typhoon Odette visited the island. They are now solely relying on the help given by different agencies and the Surigao City local government.
Overall damages of Typhoon Odette on agriculture have been reported to cost around 17.7 billion pesos in total according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC). Experts have stated that it might take approximately five years for coconut farmers like Luzviminda to fully recover from the disaster. In that span of time, Luzviminda hopes they will receive continuous support as they restore their livelihood and recover from their losses.
“We’re grateful to Action Against Hunger and other humanitarian agencies,”
“We’re grateful to Action Against Hunger and other humanitarian agencies,” Luzviminda said as she thanked the team for the cash aid they received. This will minimize their family’s expenses in purchasing basic needs like food and water.
Luzviminda’s family is one of the 539 households in Barangay Day-Asan, Surigao City who received 5,150 pesos from the Multi-purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) of our Typhoon Odette Emergency Response funded by the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA).
Photo by Jowhari Maulana Salik for Action Against Hunger
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“I want to be an electrician someday so that if a power outage would happen because of a typhoon, I would be able to help in restoring it.”
Burgos, Siargao — 12-year old Reyn Ambag is a grade 7 student residing in Barangay Baybay, Burgos in the island of Siargao. He goes to school in San Isidro National High School which is located in the Municipality of San Isidro.
With Values Education as his favorite subject in school, Reyn has a knack for helping others. After observing the delays in restoring the electricity in their community, he now wants to pursue a related job in the future. “I want to be an electrician someday so that if a power outage would happen because of a typhoon, I would be able to help in restoring it,” said Reyn.
In photo: Action Against Hunger staff interviews Reyn in his home. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)
As Reyn is particularly skilled in doing somersaults, a normal day for him is playing with his cousin on the beach while practicing simple acrobatics.
Reyn is raised by his mother who is a single parent. Aside from his mother, his cousin has also been living with them to help out in the absence of Reyn’s father. Reyn’s mother provides for all three of them. She is able to support their daily needs and Reyn’s schooling with the income she gets from their small retail (sari-sari) store.
In photo: Reyn sitting inside their damaged house. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)
In the wake of Typhoon Odette’s impact, their family stayed inside the comfort room of the school where they evacuated to. There, he had witnessed through the window how the strong winds of the typhoon had ravaged their area. They stayed there until the storm subsided and it was safe for them to go out. Upon returning to their home, they were devastated to find that their house was damaged due to the fallen coconut trees.
In photo: Reyn sitting inside their damaged house. Above him is a temporary tarpaulin cover to serve as their roof while they have yet to repair the damage. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)
With the support of UNICEF and UN CERF, Reyn’s family is one of the 221 households in Barangay Baybay that received emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene support last February 4, 2022.
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Burgos, Siargao — Before Super Typhoon Odette made landfall in Siargao, Hacel Mae Escobido and her family had already evacuated to the nearby school in their area. With the typhoon’s destructive strong winds, it was fortunate enough that the room where they stayed was the only room left undamaged by Typhoon Odette.
In photo: Hacelmae sits along the shore of Baybay, Burgos in Siargao. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)
“I’m grateful that my family and I were safe,” she shares after recalling the ordeal they went through.
Hacel Mae was only 3 months old when she was taken in by her adoptive parents who are also distant relatives of her birth parents. Her adoptive father works as a carpenter, while her adoptive mother takes care of their home.
At 11 years old, Hacel Mae is already enrolled as a junior high school student. “I want to become a police officer to serve and protect my community,” she shares. When she is not in school, she normally spends her day helping at the rice farm.
In photo: Hacel Mae arrives at her home after spending the morning helping out at the rice farm. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)
With the support of UNICEF and UN CERF, Hacel Mae’s family is one of the 221 households in Barangay Baybay that received emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene support last February 4, 2022.
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TUBIGON, BOHOL — Dennis Frontera, a 45-year-old father of two teenagers, was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes almost a year ago. Before he was always full of energy, but that changed when his condition eventually led to renal failure. While he has since been receiving medical treatments, Dennis knew he was already due for a check-up.
His last consultation in December 2021 hadn’t been easy. Dennis had to be isolated for a couple of days at the hospital which unfortunately was at the same time that Typhoon Odette was wreaking havoc in his community at Barangay Bilang-bilangan. This experience made him hesitant to go back to the health facility.
Medical Mission in Barangay Bilang-bilangan for people affected by Typhoon Odette. The activity is organized by Action Against Hunger through the EU-funded REACH Project. (Photo by Roussam Dilig for Action Against Hunger)
Dennis received further assistance through cash support which he can use to cover expensesfor medicines and laboratory tests.
With the support he receives from his family and other organizations like Action Against Hunger, Dennis is hopeful that he will recover sooner than later. For the sake of his wife and children, he is optimistic that he will return to the energetic man that he was before.
Dennis is one of the 60,625 individuals that are expected to benefit from the Typhoon Odette Emergency Response of REACH.
Typhoon-affected residents of Barangay Bilang-bilangan queue for a health consultation during the medical mission organized by Action Against Hunger through the EU-funded REACH Project. (Photo by Roussam Dilig for Action Against Hunger)
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