Islamic Relief has joined the people of Bantayan Island in marking the one-year anniversary of the day a super-typhoon devastated communities in the Philippines.
More than 14 million people were affected, and thousands died when the powerful storm, known locally as Yolanda, barrelled into coastal communities across the island archipelago last November. One year later, work to rebuild communities continues and many families remain displaced.
On 8 November, Islamic Relief took part in a series of commemoration events. We joined students, local government representatives and other humanitarian bodies in a clean-up session along the shorelines of Santa Fe municipality.
Enabling families to earn a living once more
We also participated in a photography exhibit organised by the Bantayan local authority, which highlighted our work with affected fishing communities. As well as installing rainwater catchment systems and repairing schools, we have enabled local people to restore their livelihoods. We helped to repair 119 fishing boats, provided equipment to 430 fishermen, and supported 119 seaweed farmers to restore their livelihoods.
In addition, families were helped to set up small businesses and benefitted from cash-for-work opportunities. Local people are learning new skills – such as carpentry, masonry, and electrics – through our vocational training project.
Supporting communities and promoting disaster preparedness
At Unity Village, Sillon, we brought together residents and government officials in a community meeting. Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, and Bantayan Mayor Ian Christoper Escario answered questions from local people about programmes to rebuild communities.
During the meeting, we officially handed-over our shelter and livelihood assistance project to communities in Bantayan and Santa Fe, where we have constructed 270 disaster-resistant shelters for affected families and also installed latrines. Sanitary packs were also distributed at the session, and Governor Davide thanked Islamic Relief for our work to help families to rebuild their lives.
In Santa Fe municipality, we engaged students from 20 schools in a poster-making contest designed to promote vital disaster-preparedness. The day of events culminated in an evening parade, in which boats repaired with Islamic Relief’s support joined the procession.
Islamic Relief began working in the Philippines in the immediate aftermath of the category five storm. Our emergency response included distributing over 20,000 food parcels, as well as tents, shelter repair kits and other essential items.