Situated on the northern province of Leyte and across the Carigara Bay, the municipality of Carigara was one of the badly hit towns in the province.
Leo Salvacion, a former barangay captain and current local government employee, explains how he was among those who monitored evacuees in the civic center during Yolanda.
“We used our gymnasium (civic center) as our evacuation center, but when Yolanda hit us, it damaged most of the roofing.
We are still lucky because even if we are near the sea, we didn’t experience a storm surge. Instead, it was the strong winds that caused most of the damage. There was only minimal flooding: unlike with Typhoon Seniang, which caused huge floods from heavy rains,” he remembers.
A market vendor for almost three years, Teresa Nivera remembers how her family did not evacuate in the civic center, but instead chose to stay inside their market stall. She witnessed the damage firsthand.
“I saw how the typhoon damaged most of the stalls and market products here,” she says. “I didn’t expect that it will be a very strong typhoon… We witnessed how the winds blew off the door from the stalls and the roof was hung like clothes on the trees and electrical wirings.”
Rehabilitation follows an ‘unforgettable’ experience
Alejo N. Urmeneta, a local municipal administrator, explained how RAY DILG funds supported Carigara’s continued recovery. “The repair of our municipal building, gymnasium and (market) stalls means that these buildings are now more accessible, manageable and serviceable to the needs of the community.
“The community did not only benefit by being able to use the facility but it was also income generating for the local government due to the rent of gymansium and stalls,” Alejo explains.
“We are now safe and secure in our stall. We don’t get wet anymore when it rains. It was really a big help to us,” Teresa agrees.
Yet some challenges remain. “While the rebuilding of these projects were completed in a timely manner, we still need to repair the gymnasium, as the stage is not yet functional. Only the roofing and roof framing have been repaired,” Alejo says.
In the meantime, “the people here have changed after Yolanda,” Leo believes. “We saw this during Typhoon Seniang. Now, they listen, they are not hard-headed anymore. Yolanda was an unforgettable learning experience for everyone.”