Martin P. Aledro, a protocol officer at the La Paz municipal hall, remembers Yolanda as both ‘terrible and unforgettable’.
“Our municipality and province has always been in the typhoon belt,” he says. “But Typhoon Yolanda was different.
“It was a terrible and unforgettable experience. Almost everything was damaged – from houses, trees, vehicles to buildings, Yolanda didn’t miss a thing,” he says.
Local government infrastructure also sustained extensive damage. As La Paz Mayor Lesmes C. Lumen explains:
“The roof of our administration building was damaged. Most of our records got wet, and some were misplaced. Our gymnasium collapsed. We had been repairing our local public market when Yolanda struck. We were fortunate in some ways, as the roof hadn’t been installed yet. Still, it took more than three months for us to resume work there.”
“We had six casualties. Four of them was hit by falling coconut trees. The two others were senior citizens who died of severe cold,” Mayor Lesmes adds.
“The completion of the RAY-DILG projects had a great impact on our municipality,” Mayor Lesmes says, “because we can now hold conferences in our civic center. We are also about to start our sports competitions there.
For our administrative buildings, we have two buildings here which we proposed for the rehabilitation. One is already finished, the other one is on its final stages of completion. Some parts of it are being used already.”
“The operations here in our municipal hall have improved after our facility was repaired. The employees are now working comfortably in their offices. Our economic activities are starting to recover as well,” Martin says.
“Typhoon Yolanda taught us to be more prepared for future disasters, and taught us that preparation is not just for local government alone,” Mayor Lesmes adds. “We are conducting several trainings already with the key officials and the community to equip everyone for upcoming calamities.”