Posts

Stories from the Field: Keeping faith in helping others despite Typhoon Odette’s impact

“In health, we need to be on duty, even if we ourselves are affected. Be strong. We go to the evacuation centers, even though we do not know what has happened to our homes.”Dr. Ivy Padernal, Municipal Health Officer | Municipality of Mabini
Patients from devastated health stations from San Miguel swarm the San Roque Health center— the main health center in the municipality. After being destroyed by Typhoon Odette, it is crucial to repair and add more health stations to serve the community.
Prior to the disaster, Dr. Ivy visits the health center once a week to conduct check-ups. The center caters to more than ten barangays. After Typhoon Odette, residents had to do their health consultations at the rural health office which was a long commute for many.
With the support of the European Union Humanitarian Aid, our Typhoon Odette Response in Bohol was able to rehabilitate health facilities such as the San Roque Health Center.

The Immediate and Comprehensive Response for Communities Affected by Typhoon Rai (Odette) is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and jointly implemented by CARE Philippines, ACCORD Incorporated, Action Against Hunger Philippines, National Rural Women Coalition (PKKK) and Plan International in Dinagat Islands, Palawan, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Negros Occidental, and Cebu, in the Philippines.

Read more

Stories from the Field: Hope in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette

41-year-old Lorelei still breaks down into tears every time she recalls the day Typhoon Odette made landfall. She vividly remembers the fear that she and her family experienced. Not to mention, they had to face the fact that the typhoon had left their home damaged and their livelihood affected.
 

With the support of the European Union Humanitarian Aid, our Typhoon Odette Response in Bohol was able to provide short-term livelihood recovery programs to families like Lorelei’s.


The Immediate and Comprehensive Response for Communities Affected by Typhoon Rai (Odette) is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and jointly implemented by CARE Philippines, ACCORD Incorporated, Action Against Hunger Philippines, National Rural Women Coalition (PKKK) and Plan International in Dinagat Islands, Palawan, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Negros Occidental, and Cebu, in the Philippines.

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

Read more

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: 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

Stories from the Field: A Father’s Fight

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.

When he found out about the medical mission in their barangay organized by Action Against Hunger, he was more than eager to get a consultation. This activity was part of the emergency health interventions of the Typhoon Odette Emergency Response of the REACH Project which is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).

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 expenses for 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)

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.

Action Against Hunger staff conduct a hygiene promotion session during the Medical Mission in Barangay Bilang-bilangan last February 18, 2022 (Photo by Roussam Dilig for Action Against Hunger)


Written by Roussam Dilig | Edited by Joyce Sandajan, Dale Divinagracia

Read more

REACH community volunteers gear up in intensifying COVID-19 vaccine awareness in Mindanao

We make sure that COVID-19 vaccines reach those who need them the most. Since last year, our COVID-19 Vaccination Response under the REACH Project has been supporting the local government and health units in Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao so that more people in remote and disaster-affected communities are vaccinated and protected against the coronavirus. 

Door-to-door visits in Barangay Sapa, Bayang, Lanao del Sur. (Photo by Veronica Avila for Action Against Hunger)

We are going door-to-door to raise vaccine awareness, traveling by land or by water one community at a time with the support of the European Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid. Recently, we have mobilized Community Based Information Groups (CBIGs) to support the health workers of our partner rural health units. Together with the CBIGs, we will be intensifying our awareness campaign on COVID-19 vaccination while increasing the pre-registrations of A2 and A3 priority groups. 

30 community volunteers from the 34 barangays participated in the CBIG Orientation which was held at Barangay Casim Lumbaca-Ingud in the Municipality of Masiu, Lanao del Sur last January 13. Members of the Association of Barangay Chairpersons (ABC) in Masiu were also present. 

In photo: CBIG Orientation with MHO in Masiu. (Photo by Veronica Avila for Action Against Hunger)

CBIGs have very important roles. The CBIGs will be doing household visits and community dialogues to conduct vaccine and other health-related orientations. Their most crucial role is to provide overall assistance to their respective barangay health units and vaccination teams.  

As of January 2022, we have covered 45,376 people through REACH’s COVID-19 Vaccine Response activities. 

The COVID-19 Vaccination Response of REACH (Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao 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.Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), United Youth of the Philippines-Women and Oxfam Pilipinas.


Written by Veronica Avila | Edited by Joyce Sandajan

Flora Cuaton smiles upon receiving the food packs and NFI kits from REACH - Typhoon Odette Emergency Response. On the left side of the photo are the debris from their damaged house. The green house behind her is owned by one of their children, where they now temporarily stay altogether.

Typhoon Odette Aftermath: “We have to start from scratch and right now, we have nothing.”

Flora Cuaton, 57, lost their home and livelihood in the distant island barangay of Mantatao, Calape in Bohol province due to Typhoon Odette (internationally named as Typhoon Rai).

“We don’t know how long it will take us to build back all that we lost because we have to start from scratch and right now, we have nothing,” says Flora. She and her husband used to own a small retail (locally called sari-sari) store in front of their house which was situated just by the island’s dock. Their small business was good then but has now been reduced to only broken items and debris.

Flora points to where their previous house and sari-sari store used to stand. | Photo by Joyce Sandajan for Action Against Hunger (Bohol, Philippines)

Before the typhoon, Flora lived with her husband, four grandchildren, and a 35-year old daughter who has a disability. They are now staying with the family of their other child while their house is yet to be repaired. This makes two families—a total of 13 people—living under one small and cramped partially damaged house.

Flora and the rest of her extended family now only rely on relief goods to get by while living in difficult conditions and having no current source of income.

The piles of wood, broken items and other debris are what is left from what was once Flora and her family's house

The piles of wood, broken items, and other debris remain from what was once Flora and her family’s house. | Photo by Joyce Sandajan for Action Against Hunger (Bohol, Philippines)

With the support of the European Union, her family is one of the 227 typhoon-affected households in Mantatao who received food packs including 50 kilograms of rice, and non-food items such as kitchenware and sleeping essentials through the Typhoon Odette Emergency Response.

Food packs and NFI kits are lined up along the entrance of the barangay; a REACH Banner hangs and behind it are broken houses.

Food packs with sacks of rice and NFI kits are lined up along the entrance of the barangay which is just by the dock of the island. | Photo by Joyce Sandajan for Action Against Hunger (Bohol, Philippines)

Barangay Mantatao is one of the islands in the Municipality of Calape. It takes a 25 to 30-minute boat ride from the town proper of Calape going to Mantatao island. Aside from being geographically isolated, many houses in Mantatao had been totally damaged by Typhoon Odette leaving many residents in great need of humanitarian support.

The Typhoon Odette Emergency Response of REACH 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 Joyce Sandajan

Affected families of Typhoon Odette react to emergency aid received from EU-funded REACH project

“As humanitarian workers, it felt good to see the people’s smiles when they received the sacks of rice, groceries and the kitchen and sleeping kits that were provided,” said Mary Amy Gagalac, the Head of Project of our Typhoon Odette (internationally named Typhoon Rai) Emergency Response in Bohol under the EU-funded REACH Project or 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.’

Residents of Barangay Ugpong in Loboc, Bohol line up to refill their containers during one of the water trucking sessions provided by the REACH – Typhoon Odette Emergency Response implemented by Action Against Hunger.

We have been working to identify the needs of typhoon-affected communities in Bohol within days since Odette made landfall on December 16, 2021. Immediate life-saving aid through emergency kits and water trucking services have since been provided by REACH in the municipalities of Loboc, San Miguel, and Calape through the efforts of our teams on the ground.

A resident carries a refilled container while walking in a muddy path.

A resident carries a refilled container after the water trucking service in Loboc, Bohol. | Photo by Melinda Buensuceso for Action Against Hunger (Bohol, Philippines)

“They expressed their gratitude to us and to ECHO. One of the recipients from Barangay Ugpong whose house was totally destroyed by the typhoon was in tears upon receiving the relief goods,” Amy shares.

Vince, one of our Project Assistants, hands over a food kit to one of the typhoon-affected households in Barangay Camias, Calape, Bohol.

 

The Typhoon Odette Emergency Response of REACH 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 Joyce Sandajan

Read more