In Balangkayan, local municipal accountant Melinda B. Borja remembers the dual nature of Yolanda: first came the gale-force winds, then the flooding rain. In coastal areas, storm surges would reached up to 10 feet. Each weather event, wrecking havoc on local homes, schools, roads and critical infrastructure.
Among these was the local municipal hall. “The strong winds destroyed our windows, roof and ceilings,” Melinda explains. “Then the water came in and damaged our files. Everything was damp inside.” Next door, the local civic center suffered damage to its roof and interior stage.
‘Step by step’
“When our LGU received this funding assistance from DILG, the implementation of the RAY projects became our topmost priority,” Rene B. Montes explains.
At the municipal hall, a new resilient roof was installed to provide immediate shelter. “New doors and windows were also installed. They also placed a canopy to provide better protection in the building,” Melinda explains.
“The (interior) look of our municipal building was transformed after the repair,” Melinda says. “The improvements mean we’re better able to deal with and meet the needs of our clients. I don’t need to worry with my files and the documents stored in our office because we don’t experience leaks anymore when it rains,” she added.
The stage in the civic center was repaired along with the roofing. They now have a venue to conduct municipal programs such as fiesta activities and basketball leagues.
“Aside from the repair works, we also installed a perimeter fence around the civic center. It now has an aesthetic appeal and it gives protection to our users when we have our events there, because outsiders can’t interrupt ongoing programs,” Rene adds.
Two years may have passed since Yolanda struck. Despite the challenges of long-term disaster recovery, in Balangkayan, the message is clear. “We are moving forward,” Rene says. “We are just taking all our rehabilitation, step by step.”