Community kitchens thrive in post-Odette Siargao

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GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 30 January) –  Community kitchens serving food to displaced residents here are thriving as typhoon Odette wreaked havoc not just on houses and other properties but also on sources of livelihood of farmers, fisherfolk, and workers in the tourism industry. 

Mobile rationing of food with World Central Kitchen and local partner Lamari Resort in Poblacion 12 in Dapa, Siargao Island on Saturday, January 29, 2022. MindaNews photo by Roel Catoto

Siargao has relied mainly on farming and fishing as a major economic driver since 2020, according to National Economic Development Authority, after its tourism industry suffered losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. 

Tourism bounced back mid-September 2021 after a massive vaccination program launched by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Vince Dizon, dubbed ‘testing czar’ of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). 

Typhoon Odette knocked down the tourism and agriculture sector it made its first landfall here  on this island 1at 1:30 p.m. on December 16, the first of nine landfalls in the Philippines. 

“World Central Kitchen and its partners, and Lamari Siargao operate a mobile food rationing to communities that are  underserved by either public and non-government organizations,” Dapa Mayor Elizabeth Matugas said. 

Matugas was happy that they are helping different communities on the island.

World Central Kitchen and its local partners have been feeding at least 105 villages daily across towns in post-Odette Siargao Island,  

Lamari chef Jeser Englis Ortaniza has been cooking hundreds of healthy meals daily along with the entire staff of the resort.

“We are happy to serve the underserved communities. This motivates and drives us non-stop to help fellowmen in their darkest moment of times,”Ortaniza said adding the their mobile kitchen runs for almost a week 

Kids in Don Paulino in Dapa town said they couldn’t thank enough the those who are supporting the project. 

“Salamat karajaw” (thank you very much), said eight-year old John Ruaya and seven-year old Edwin Clave, who smiled as they headed back to their temporary shelters. 

Richard Sharpe, a volunteer for the community kitchen,  said World Community Kitchen and its local partners, are a lifeline for the islanders. “Without them, the community will be having a hard time in getting back on its own feet,” he said. 

Sharpe and his friends have been helping in rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in communities here,. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)

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