BAGANGA, Davao Oriental- Days after typhoon Pablo inundated their village, Barangay Ban-ao chair Mera Adlawan Ching thought the
community and the life they knew would cease to exist.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said Barangay Ban-ao is the most hard-hit village in Baganga town in Davao Oriental, with 17 people dead and 90 percent of its 520 families homeless.
“We lost everything. Our homes; our livelihood and almost everyone had a relative or friend who died. There was nothing for our
community,” Ching said.
The community had to struggle to get everything back in the first few days — food, shelter, burying their dead and even looking for their
farm animals who had gone astray when typhoon Pablo unleashed its deadly winds and rains last December 4.
“I often wondered during those days if we could see the fulfillment of our hopes and wishes for 2013 . There was no one to turn to for
help. The community had run out of food and the water that came out of our pumps was too salty for drinking,” Ching narrated.
She said what save Barangay Ban-ao residents was when a councilor opened his store and distributed 80 sacks of rice for free.
After things got more organized and food lines slowly vanished as relief trucks arrived more regularly, Ching said residents turned
their attention to shelter.
“Many residents had salvaged what remained of their former houses. They used them for improvised shelters. But nails, concrete and tin
roofs were hard to get by. If these were available, the prices were jacked up by unscrupulous traders, “ Ching said.
A week after the storm, a team of NGOs, Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc., and the Australian-based Disaster Aid International , came to
Barangay Ban-ao with a pledge: to build 300 tents for the village.
As of Dec. 30,2012, Balay Mindanawand Disaster Aid International had built a hundred tents in Barangay Ban-ao.
Ed Cox of the Disaster Aid International supervised the pitching of the tents with the help of the residents who came every morning to
Ching’s relative who is a trader in Baganga, lent his payloader for free to clear the debris where the tents would be set up.
Charlito Manlupig, head of Balay Mindanao , said the first key intervention is to help residents set up their own tent community as
a temporary emergency shelter while they reconstruct or repair their damaged houses.
“ We are not giving just water and tents but the complete package. The intervention will try to cover the whole range of community needs:
from organizing to provision of basic needs of food, water, medicines, “ he said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)