Like many of those in the coastal municipality of Javier, on November 8, 2013, Anabelle P. de Paz feared for her life.
A local municipal employee, she remembers the early preparations – and the devastation – of the Super Typhoon.
“We began feeling the arrival of strong winds at around 7:00 am. We were especially nervous, since my had father died on November 6, and on November 8, we had intended to hold his wake.
Yet instead I thought, we cannot survive this. As Yolanda hit, we could feel our house being shaken. I cannot see anything outside because of the strong winds. My children and I were crying. It was around 10:30 am when the winds stopped.
Our municipal building was among those damaged. The flood was about 6 inches high. Luckily, we were able to secure our documents and office equipment beforehand, and these survived. Office furniture, including table and chairs, were destroyed.
The normal operations in the office resumed after three weeks because we cleaned our office.”
Recovery with RAY DILG
With support from RAY DILG funds, the municipal building was quickly repaired.
“Our top priority was to return local government operations to normal,” Anabelle says. “(RAY DILG funds) was this possible. They installed a new roof, new ceilings, doors and windows. They also painted our offices.”
“Without it, we wouldn’t have known where to get funds for these repairs,” she says.
Nowadays, “the staff is comfortable in our office,” Anabelle adds. “Our clients also commends the new look of our office. They said that it is more convenient for them to transact their business.”
In case of future disasters, both she and the community feel more prepared than ever.
“Since Yolanda, the people here were more prepared and alert,” Anabelle says. “By the time Typhoons Ruby and Seniang arrived, we had learnt how we, as the local government should function before the storm makes landfall. Extra food and safe drinking water were prepared in the evacuation centers.
“Even we, the employees, became involved in the distribution of relief goods,” she says. “The coordination of relief goods to the barangays is now more efficient. There is team work from everybody, from the local government down to the community,” Anabelle adds.