29 December 2009

The Philippines: Typhoon survivors face long road to recovery

  1. A mother and her child cross floodwaters brought on by Typhoon Ketsana in San Pedro Laguna, south of Manila, 30 September 2009. © Reuters/Erik de Castro courtesy of www.alertnet.org
  2. Survivors of Typhoon Ketsana wade through floodwaters east of Manila, Philippines, following a military truck transporting relief goods to an evacuation centre. 30 September 2009. ©Reuters/Romeo Ranoco courtesy of www.alertnet.org
  3. Flood victims standing in water brought on by Typhoon Ketsana wait for relief goods outside an evacuation centre in Pateros, east of Manila, Philippines. 30 September 2009. © Reuters/Romeo Ranoco courtesy of www.alertnet.org
  4. Survivors of Typhoon Ketsana stand in floodwaters waiting for relief goods outside an evacuation centre in Pateros, east of Manila, Philippines. 30 September 2009. © Reuters/Romeo Ranoco courtesy of www.alertnet.org
  5. Children among residents wading through knee-deep floodwaters brought by Typhoon Ketsana in Taytay Rizal, east of Manila, Philippines. 30 September 2009. © Reuters/Romeo Ranoco courtesy of www.alertnet.org
  6. Children look out from a partially submerged house in floodwaters caused by Typhoon Ketsana in San Pedro Laguna, Philippines, 30 September 2009. © Erik de Castro / Reuters courtesy of www.alertnet.org

28 October 2009

A month after typhoon Ketsana pounded Metro Manila with unprecedented downpour, leaving behind a trail of destruction at its wake, residents are beginning the long and difficult process of rebuilding their homes and picking up pieces of their shattered lives.

While signs of rebuilding are sprouting across the region, the recovery phase will take far longer for most of the typhoon survivors.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) estimates the cost of the typhoon’s damage to business, infrastructure and agriculture at Php11.2B (US$5.13m).

“We are back to zero. Everything that we have worked so hard for so many years have been lost to the flood,” laments Annie, a resident of Fortune village in Marikina.

Like the more than 885,000 families affected by the Ketsana, Annie is grateful her entire family is alive but with her house emptied out by the floodwaters, she despairs over the loss they have sustained.

“We have no choice but to start over again,” she said.

Following relief distribution to more than 20,000 families and providing psychosocial intervention to more than 4,000 children in evacuation centres, World Vision has now shifted from relief assistance to rehabilitation with the Cash for Work program.

With the primary aim of helping rebuild communities after a disaster, World Vision’s Cash for Work program also provides temporary income to flood survivors.

Among the beneficiaries is Gloria Anonuevo, whose house was caked in mud following the typhoon.

From her doorway, Gloria surveys the three days worth of clean-up work she and her neighbours had put in to restore semblance of order in her village. Some pieces of furniture that have survived the flood are now put in place. Only the water marks high up on the walls remind Gloria the height of the flood waters that almost claimed their lives.

The streets of Gloria’s neighbourhood, which have been buried and littered with mud, debris and garbage, have been swept clean. Traces of the typhoon’s destruction are piled up on a street corner – waiting to be carted off by a bulldozer.

At the height of typhoon Ketsana, Gloria’s neighbourhood was submerged in 15 feet of floodwaters and rendered 14 families in living in the riverside homeless.

With tools like pick mattocks, shovels, axes and wheelbarrows provided by World Vision, the process of sprucing up their neighbourhood has been sped up.

“People here have been cleaning up their homes soon after the flood waters receded. But it has been difficult because the mud had dried up and we didn’t have the tools to use. And I have three young grand children to look after so it has not been easy to do a thorough work,” says Gloria.

The Cash for Work program will provide temporary employment to more than 1,000 in the coming weeks in the areas of Pasig, Cainta, and Angono.