“As Yolanda hit us, it was all just a matter of time,” Dagami Mayor Abundio I. Delusa remembers. He tells his story:
“In the first thirty minutes, visibility was reduced to zero.
We really didn’t know what to do. I cannot even explain it… Most of the buildings and houses were damaged. The people were left homeless.
We just relied on relief goods because even agriculture – the trees, vegetables, and crops – were all badly damaged.
In the municipal hall, the walls were damaged and the glass windows were shattered. The winds were so strong that even a dead pig from the mountain was carried here…
The civic center was also devastated and the market was no longer functional. Aside from that the roads, day care centers and schools were badly affected also. It was a very hopeless situation.”
Support from RAY DILG
“Through the RAY funding assistance, we were able to rehabilitate our municipal building, market and civic center.
A new roof and ceilings was installed, along with built-in cabinets and partitions. The electrical wires were fixed also. Once people saw that the municipal hall was functional again, they didn’t hesitate to visit.
Our market has become busy again. People are selling fish and root crops. Some of the people here were able to plant root crops after the typhoon, so that after three to four months, they were able to harvest it and sell it.
We were able to restore all the activities in our civic center. New roof sheets and ceiling were installed: we also fixed the door, windows and had electrical works. We use it as our venue for meetings with the local government and NGOs.”
Learnings after Yolanda
“There were forty-six casualties here in Dagami, from Typhoon Yolanda.
(Super Typhoon Yolanda) changed everything: it really an eye-opener for everyone. In the past, it would be really difficult to explain to the community about typhoons, and how to adequately prepare and evacuate for them.
Now, once an announcement was made, the people mobilize on their own. They prepare, and then head to the evacuation centers.
Moving forward, I really want to build a big evacuation center that can withstand future typhoons of a similar ‘super’ strength, like Yolanda. In the meantime, we use the civic center and municipal hall as assigned evacuation centers.”
‘The new normal’
“Yolanda and Seniang were both ‘firsts’ in Dagami. Yolanda’s strong winds were unbelievable. On the other hand, Seniang’s strong rains and extensive flooding were also unexpected.”
Preparations for the ‘new normal’ are key to a ‘normal’ life, the Mayor explains. “My hope for the people of Dagami is that we can continue to build our lives with productive work and activities,” he says.