At the Ganito Tayo Noon reunion, I included in my malong Timeline this poster, to represent one of our shared concerns with Girlie – the relief and rehabilitation work being done by our friends at the Balay Mindanaw group of NGOs.
After assessing the needs and their capabilities, they decided to focus on one barangay, Barangay Ban-ao in Baganga, Davao Oriental, for long-term and comprehensive work, hoping that lessons learned there can be a source of mutual learning with those who are working in other barangays.
One of the challenge in relief and rehab work is how to sustain public interest as the dramatic events and images recede from the news and our memories. Even more important is how to work out in practice the principle that we want to help people help themselves.
When I read the recent update from Balay MIndanaw, I thought of the theme that I use as the header of this blog – Between Honesty and Hope.
Thanks to our friends at Balay MIndanaw, their partners, and the people of Bgy. Ban-ao for the lessons and inspiration.
Balay Mindanaw Disaster Response Update
January 11, 2013
Dear Friends and Partners,
Happy New Year!
We are pleased to share with you the latest highlights in our continuing disaster response interventions in three communities affected by Typhoon Pablo namely Ban-ao, Baganga in Davao Oriental; Lingig, Surigao del Sur; and Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur. We have been with these communities right after our conduct of quick damage and loss assessment (DaLA) and human recovery needs assessment (HRNA) on 7 December 2012, three days after the disaster. And as we cited in our previous updates, we have since then focused our community-based DR work in Barangay Ban-ao, Baganga one of the worst hit barangays in the entire Province of Davao Oriental, recording 17 deaths, many injuries and unimaginable damage to properties and livelihoods.
IN RETROSPECT: We have been able to serve no less than 1,500 affected families in the above-cited communities in the form of food packs, medicine or first aid kits, non-food items, hygiene kits, kitchen wares, clothing, and shelter repair kits. We continue to do so only because of the kindness and generosity of The Johanniter, International Assistance from Germany, long-time friends, partners during Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro City, new acquaintances, new donor- institutions such as Nyima Foundation, Ortigas Corp., Ayala Foundation, and many others who wish to remain anonymous; at least 100 tent boxes/survival kits and life boxes from the Disaster Aid International and other 200 tent boxes from ShelterBox; medical missions, which consistently have been led by our ever dearest Dr. Ruben Cagape from the Office of Governor Dominguez of Sarangani; additional psycho-social interventions from both the academe and some experts; solar lanterns from the Team Energy; and the pouring in of volunteers both professional and labor most particularly for the re/packing and transport of goods, and the setting up of the tent communities.
ONE MONTH LATER
On Tent Community Coordination and Management (TCCM)
Fifty-one (51) families have already moved into their temporary homes as of today. If the weather condition continues to be favorable this week, all of the 100 DAI tents will have already been installed before 13 January 2013. All this tent building work was supposedly completed before 23 December 2012 in time for the families to celebrate Christmas in their tent houses, had it not been for the regular heavy rains with wind gustiness.
The symbolic transfer of the first 20 families was witnessed by some Balay Mindanaw partners such as the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (DRRMCs) of Aleosan, North Cotabato headed by the Municipal Administrator, Mike Estrebillo and the DRRMC-Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental headed by Mr. Bimbo; the Incident Command Post (ICP) Commander himself, Col Krishnamurti Mortela; the Disaster Aid International (DAI); and the Barangay Local Government Unit with the 7 Purok Leaders headed by Punong Barangay Mera Adlawan-Ching. These partners also accompanied each of the families into their respective tent houses symbolizing their continued empathy and support up until their recovery. Our sincerest gratitude for the Local Chief Executives of Aleosan and Gingoog City – going through the 12-20 hours of travel from their respective areas just to personally show their solidarity with the Barangay Ban-ao residents. They also brought their own share of food items, non-food items and some hygiene kits for the affected families.
On 31 December, the first 20 tent houses were provided with solar lanterns welcoming the New Year 2013 with all brightness. With Punong Barangay Mera Ching herself leading the singing of Christmas carols among children, the New Year was a moment of happiness. Teary-eyed, she said that despite the unfavorable fate they had in the past year, there is always a reason to celebrate new life, new beginning – and this should not be missed especially by the little children.
In each of the tents, Food Always in the Home (FAITH) vegetable gardens, as well as pots of flowers can already be seen. This is being complemented by the 67IB’s nursery and gardens of kangkong and camote tops near the school premise. The Department of Agriculture has also provided the barangay with sacks of rice ready for planting. In fact, three of the Tent Community residents have already started planting rice this 1st week of January.
All the 520 families are regularly being provided with food packs, non-food items, hygiene kits prepared by the BMFI Team based in Cagayan de Oro City or at the O’Carmelites Parish Relief Operations Center, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. As per regular meeting among the Purok Leaders, the distribution of goods is now scheduled every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Thirteen (13) basic committees have been created to help facilitate smooth management of the entire tent community. Here are some of the committees identified based on the international clustering approach: relief distribution (Belen); supply management (Marife); community kitchen (Roselito); medic/health and women-and-children friendly spaces (Irene); security/protection and/or safety (James); psycho-social (Mary Ann); Water and sanitation, hygiene (Felixberto); grievance (Jimmy); data/record management (Jerrebelle); livelihood (Ben). James Mandawe was assigned as the overall team leader. Each of the assigned committee leaders have already been briefed on the tasks assigned to them.
On Water and Sanitation, Hygiene and other needed communal facilities
Bundled as part of the transfer to the tent community was the installation of functional communal facilities that include community kitchen, bathing area and toilet for boys, and bathing area and toilet for girls. For now, two sets of these facilities are being installed as the tent communities are divided with a creek – access to the existing facilities has become difficult. All this, through Balay Mindanaw’s “Engineering Brigade” headed by the boys of KPMFI (social enterprise). A bladder that supplies the daily needs for water has also been established with the Red Cross.
Women-and-children friendly spaces were not readily established due to the lack of bigger tents that can accommodate several persons inside. The UNFPA has visited to institutionalize protection against gender-based violence inside the tent community; training on anti-VAWC, supplies such as chairs and tables shall be provided by them.
Data monitoring board is now being installed for easier access to information inside the tent community.
On Purok leaders taking active roles
This to also help unload the burden on the part of the Punong Barangay, all of the seven Purok Leaders are actively involved especially on major decision-making and planning related to the tent community and the barangay in general. The seven Purok Leaders are as follows:
Purok Magtinabangay A – Nelson Calig-onan
Purok Magtinabangay B – Darwin Calig-onan
Purok Masipag A – Uldarico Limocon
Purok Masipag B – Edgar Ponce
Purok Mahayahay A – Salvador Escamillan
Purok Mahayahay B – Mark Anthony Mandawe
Purok Mahayahay C – Anselmo Rodriguez
These leaders are with us every time we do distribution of goods and even in the clearing of debris for the tent houses. Hence, the quick and more orderly facilitation of activities involving a crowd of people.
This good practice in the tent community has been disturbed when one afternoon, a relief provider went to the area with its truckload of biscuits: throwing packs here and there making everyone in panic – that instead of providing relief, it resulted in harm especially among children and elderly who also wanted to have a share of the goods.
Continued support from the Incident Command Post (ICP)
Col Kris Mortela has always been with the team since Day 1 of the entire work in Barangay Ban-ao. As cited in our previous updates, he was the very instrument why Balay Mindanaw has gone to Barangay Ban-ao, Baganga doing its community-based disaster response work. Almost every day he comes to the tent community, talking with the leaders and helping us access to some infrastructure support for the clearing of debris as well as encouraging the residents to start planting vegetables and other fast crops as early as now; this he said would help address shortage of food supply in the coming months.
Coming in of Humanitarian Assistance groups and other Partners
With the visibility now of the blue tents in the barangay, more humanitarian groups come and visit the tent residents. To cite, the ShelterBox provided us 200 tent boxes for Barangay Ban-ao. However due to the massive need for clearing of debris that took us almost for a month, and with our upcoming distribution of shelter repair kits @P4,000.00/family, Punong Barangay Ching and her Purok Leaders decided to share these tent boxes to those families from the Po island (also totally washed out) who are staying at the congested evacuation center in Barangay Kinablangan (just adjacent to Barangay Ban-ao). This was also agreed upon during the Shelter Cluster meeting facilitated by the Deputy ICP Commander and Vice-Mayor of Baganga.
The United Nations- Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UN-OCHA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were also there for possible coordination of assistance. Almost one month later, the expected coordination work among partners at the local level is starting to be realized.
Continuing support for other affected families in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur
Balay Mindanaw has again facilitated the distribution of 100 food packs, non-food items and hygiene kits to some 100 families in Lingig, Surigao del Sur on 30 December 2012. A total of 100 sets of these items were also given to HEED Foundation, Inc. (HFI) in Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur that facilitated the actual distribution to families who are most in need. We also have personally distributed three kilos of rice, clothing, and some food and hygiene packs to 300 families in Barangays Awao and Poblacion, Sta. Josefa. Two solar lanterns have also been shared for communal use as not all of the areas have already their electrical connections back.
These are some of the major interventions and support that we have extended with your continued support and trust in us.
SUMMARY REPORT OF FINANCIAL STATUS (as of 10 January 2013)
We will upload into our website http://www.balaymindanaw.org the detailed report on donations and resource utilization.
FINANCIAL STATUS REPORT: as of 10 January 2013
AVAILABLE BALANCE PhP 9,335,995.20
Initial DR Fund in Various Accounts PhP671,108.00
CASH DONATIONS RECEIVED PhP 12,008,959.35
CASH DISBURSEMENTS PhP3, 344,072.15
There still exists the need for continued support for food, hygiene kits (mosquito nets, napkins), and kitchen wares. Medicines most particularly for fever, colds and cough, and diarrhea have become an urgent need; this they attribute to the unpredictable weather they have after Pablo.
The need for transitional shelters especially for the home-based IDPs has also been raised. We have started providing shelter repair kits consisting of 12 GI corrugated sheets, plain sheets and 5 kilos of assorted nails amounting to P4, 000.00/household; however they said they still need other materials to build back their houses. Rentals for chainsaw use and price for good lumbers despite the coconut logs around have gone very high that they do not have money to pay or could no longer afford to pay.
At the macro level, Barangay Ban-ao households are mostly situated very near to the coastal area that when gauged according to the standards on easement and safety, all these would be considered under no-build zone or at high-risk areas. This requires the entire barangay to find a secure relocation site the soonest time, especially now that it has become a favorite path of at least 20 typhoons per year. As estimated, at least three-hectare of land is needed for the present population and number of households including the basic infrastructures for the barangay site.
The need for livelihood opportunities is also being raised during the latest meetings. Quick skills inventory and other related assessments have already been conducted by KPMFI. This resulted in the identification of vegetable seeds, ready-to-plant coconut trees, and fishing boats and gears for the immediate time. Other sources of income for daily, weekly, monthly, every 6 months, and annually shall be identified in the next scheduled meetings.
These needs if not met the soonest time might lead to increased social problems including human trafficking in the area, especially among girl and boy children, and women.
The need for a more pro-active coordination among humanitarian assistance groups in partnership with the local leadership is critical and should be addressed the soonest time to help prevent or mitigate harm that would result to violence in the long run.
In the face of these challenges, we remain steadfast and committed to accompany these communities.
Thank you for being with us through the years, and for believing in our advocacy for barangay-focused interventions as a way of pursuing our work for equity, development, peace, and now to include disaster response and resiliency-building.