USAID turns over bridge to ‘Pablo’-hit town

COMPOSTELA VALLEY (MindaNews/6 December)– The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has turned over a bridge connecting Barangays Ngan, Tamian, Mangayon and Poblacion in Compostela town on Wednesday, exactly a year after typhoon Pablo devastated this province and neighboring areas.

The bridge was among the infrastructure destroyed by Pablo (international name Bopha) when it struck on December 4, 2012.

The new bridge can “withstand” adverse weather conditions and will benefit around 14,000 residents, USAID officials said.

Compostela Gov. Arturo Uy told reporters that the province has recovered about 50 percent of the damage sustained from the typhoon, with the agriculture sector making its first harvest last August.

The province’s major crops include banana, corn and palay.

Compostela town Mayor Lema Bolo said the bridge would help the local government boost its infrastructure and stretch its limited budget to other development projects.

“The bridge will connect three barangays to the poblacion, she said.

USAID has also completed a trading center here with two others under construction.

Uy said that residents in the province are now more aware on the effects of weather events such as typhoons as well as the impact of climate change to communities with their experience with Pablo.

Other USAID projects in the province include the construction and rehabilitation of 16 vital infrastructure facilities. These include four trading centers, five overflow/bridge rehabilitation projects, a footbridge, five barangay bridges and a market building.

The design of these facilities, according to USAID, will allow it to withstand winds of up to 250kph. The design of some facilities was elevated to mitigate possible flooding.

In terms of agriculture, USAID also helped train at least 300 growers in 20 techno-demo sites and five climate-adaptive farm sites.

Aside from those, the agency also helped organized the Compostela Valley Banana forum and assisted in the crafting of the Davao Oriental Crop Diversification Study. (MindaNews)