But today, two years later, the girls look to the future with optimism. “The past is the past, life has to go on,” says Jania Rose. Her family are among the 700 especially needy ones in four villages of the heavily affected regions of Samar and Bantayan that received building materials for the construction of a new home from Malteser International. With the guidance of Malteser International, the young men of the town helped to build the new house at a safe distance from the sea, complete with a latrine and washing place. “We are much better protected from storms in our new house,” explains Corazon, the girls’ mother. When Typhoon Ruby lashed the island in December 2014, the new house not only survived completely without damage, it also served as a safe shelter for two other families whose houses were not yet complete.
“In the rebuilding program that we undertook with the Philippine Association of the Order of Malta, we placed a special emphasis on secure and inclusive, barrier-free, construction, that can be orientated to the needs of the individual families,” explains Cordula Wasser, the head of Malteser International’s Asia Department. “From the beginning on, local people have been actively involved in planning, the construction of the houses, and in making the project a reality.
Thanks to the support of numerous donors, and of the international network of the Order of Malta, in 2014 and 2015, we were able to help more than 10,000 people achieve an improved quality of life in their new beginning. Alongside rebuilding, our focus lay in the areas of water supply and medical care, as well as disaster preparedness. In September 2015, we began to work on the construction of water supply and rainwater collection systems, as well as latrines, to ensure an improved provision of water and sanitation in the northern Province of Benguet in partnership with the Philippine Association of the Order of Malta.
What we have achieved:
- Reconstruction of 700 houses with Latrines
- Distribution of 150 repair kits and 390 disaster preparedness kits for the repair of partly destroyed houses
- Training of 22 young adults from the affected villages in carpentry and bricklaying
- Distribution of seeds to 38 families for the planting of vegetable gardens
- Restoration of the communal water supply for more than 1,000 families in four villages and to two primary schools
- Construction of sanitary facilities at a primary school
- School campaigns on the theme of hand washing
- Treatment of almost 1,400 people by a mobile medical team
- Renovation and equipment of two medical centers
- Psychosocial care for young People
- Disaster risk reduction and first aid training for 75 multipliers
- Distribution of early warning and rescue materials to four village committees
Emergency aid following Typhoon Ruby in December 2014:
- Aid with the timely evacuation of at-risk families
- Distribution of food parcels for 1,350 People
The Philippines are one of the most disaster prone nations in the world. Earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding and drought all pose a threat to the country and, every year, the Philippines are affected by an average of eight or nine typhoons. The country is characterized by large regional income discrepancies. A quarter of the population lives under the national poverty line, most of them in rural areas, where access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities remains insufficient, making rural populations especially vulnerable to the effects of the recurring natural disasters. In November 2013, wide stretches of the Visayas archipelago, one of the poorest regions in the country, were devastated by typhoon Haiyan – the strongest to affect the country to date. More than 6,000 people lost their lives, around 28,000 were injured, and over a million lost their homes. A total of more than 14 million people were affected by the consequences of the storm. Malteser International has been working in close cooperation with the Philippine Association of the Order of Malta since 2009. The focus of our work lies in emergency relief for people affected by natural disasters, in rebuilding water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and in the field of disaster risk reduction.