We begin 2015 with a look back to 2014, and the Climate Relief Fund’s campaigns to help people in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Hagupit and Typhoon Haiyan a year earlier. We are grateful to everyone who gave to support relief efforts there.
100% of donations to the Climate Relief Fund went to our partners in the Philippines, the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC). CDRC is a Philippine non-governmental organization, a nationwide network of local groups (mostly volunteers) helping people help themselves.
Relief and Recovery
When Typhoon Hagupit made landfall on December 6, many of the same communities recovering from Typhoon Haiyan were affected by the storm. Hagupit had a big impact: 1.7 million people were evacuated, 27 people were killed, 41,243 houses were destroyed and 231,528 were partially damaged.
As the storm cleared, CDRC’s work transitioned from emergency relief and food aid and into long term recovery work, including rebuilding community infrastructure and building stronger houses out of harm’s way. The Climate Relief Fund is proud to support CDRC as it runs these ongoing projects.
One such project is in the city Jaro, in Leyte province in the Eastern Visayas. Jaro is one of the areas that was hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan and then again weathered Hagupit. CDRC and its regional center, the Leyte Center for Development (LCDE), has been running a project to rebuild houses in Jaro.
The Poorest of The Poor, Stronger and Safer in Community
LCDE identified 200 household beneficiaries in Jaro and its neighboring town, San Isidro for its rebuilding project. The families in Jaro they selected were the poorest of the poor, those with senior citizens, female heads of the family, with many children or those with disabilities. LCDE builds these houses free on one condition -- that a member of the family would lend his or her services for free to help build the other houses in their community.
George and Elvie Gonzaga lost their home due to Typhoon Haiyan, and their home was one of the first 10 of the 58 houses to be constructed. Although they have moved into their new home, they continue to lend their services to complete the 58 houses in their village. George works four days a week for the project while his wife Elvie works for two days. "Just because our house is done does not mean we’ll stop helping others finish their houses. We have to pay back what other beneficiaries sacrificed for us," said George. George could not contain his happiness now that he and his family have a roof over their heads.
"It’s a big deal because on my own, I know I would have grown old and unable to have a house like this. I’d have grandchildren without being able to afford a typhoon and earthquake-resistant house. Now I’m assured that even when I’m away at work, my family is safe,” he said.
Built to Last
The houses LCDE builds are adapted from typhoon and flood resistant models built in Pakistan and Haiti, and are designed to resist lateral forces like earthquakes. The core houses are designed to be extendable, and this interconnecting design makes the house sturdy enough that even a super typhoon cannot lift its roof. To adapt to the Filipino culture, it was given a Filipino touch by bamboo instead of plywood (the frame is reinforced concrete and termite-resistant wood). and windows open upwards similar to local building tradition.
Thank You for Your Support
In total, the Climate Relief Fund has sent US$21,456.13 to CDRC. These funds will go a long way in bolstering their sustainable recovery work like in Jaro in the coming weeks, months and years. “We’re grateful for the support of the Climate Relief Fund, which will help us rebuild houses, restore water systems, and help some of the most underserved communities get back on their feet,” said Suyin Jamoralin, the Executive Director of CDRC.
On behalf of CDRC, the people of the Philippines affected by the climate-fueled typhoons Haiyan and Hagupit, and everyone here at the Climate Relief Fund, I thank you for your support.
Climate Relief Fund
PS. For more about CDRC and their work in Leyte please visit their blog.
Note: All photos provided by CDRC and their field team, apologies for image quality.