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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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Stories from the Field: Reyn Ambag

“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.

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 Abdul-Alim Talusob & Benjie Montilla | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan  Read more

Stories from the Field: Hacel Mae Escobido

“I’m grateful that my family and I were safe.”

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.

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 Abdul-Alim Talusob & Benjie Montilla | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan  Read more

Stories from the Field: Lenjie Concha

“I was frightened and shocked because that was the first time I experienced such a horrible event.”

10-year old Lenjie Concha lives with his grandmother, uncle, and aunt in Barangay Baybay, Burgos on the island of Siargao.

His grandmother, a teacher, owns the house where they are living in. His uncle works as a part-time carpenter and provides the main source of income for their household. Lenjie’s uncle also takes care of him while his father is away in Davao for work.

Boy sitting outside his house; house is a combination of concrete, wood and bamboo. The roof is partially damaged

In photo: Lenjie sits outside his home in Barangay Baybay, Burgos, Siargiao Island. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

On the day that Super Typhoon Odette hit Siargao, though Lenjie was inside their home, he witnessed firsthand how the strong winds destroyed the houses in their neighborhood. “I was frightened and shocked because that was the first time I experienced such a horrible event,” said Lenjie.

Fortunately, the house that they were staying in was not severely affected.

“After the typhoon, I felt safe, and I was grateful that my whole family is alive,” he added.

Lenjie’s favorite subject in school is Science and he aspires to become a teacher someday, like his grandmother. His hope for the future is to earn a college degree and land a job so that he can support his family and have a good life. On normal days, Lenjie spends his free time playing hide and seek and other games with his friends.

Action Against Hunger staff interviews Lenjie

In photo: Action Against Hunger staff interviews Lenjie outside his home. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

With the support of UNICEF and UN CERF, Lenjie’s family is one of the 221 households in Barangay Baybay that received emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene support last February 4, 2022.

Our Super Typhoon WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA is made possible with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Written by Abdul-Alim Talusob & Benjie Montilla | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan  Read more