For residents of the inland municipality of Mahaplag, Leyte, Super Typhoon Yolanda proved a terrifying experience.
Local resident Kenneth M. Salas recalls the typhoon’s gale-force winds and heavy rain. “If the rain hadn’t eventually stopped, then Mahaplag would have totally drowned,” he says.
Kenneth and others sought refuge in the local civic center, an assigned evacuation point. “I was here, and was very scared. The roof above us was destroyed: then, the water in the dike almost overflowed.”
Prior to Yolanda, some had raised concerns regarding the facility’s resilience, and need for maintenance and repair. “There was considerable damage to the facility, and even on during regular rains, water could enter and cause flood,” Kenneth says. “The wooden structure was no longer safe, since it was soaked. We could not expect it to be resilient (during disasters).”
Life after Yolanda
Since Yolanda, extensive repairs to the civic center can now ensure the continued safety and well-being of the local community.
“The repair of our civic center was of big help,” Kenneth says. “This is not just because we have a place again wherein the people can enjoy their free time: by playing sports like basketball, for example. The civic center also served as a temporary municipal building while the municipal hall was under repair.”
“The repair of the facility was quite fast,” he says. “It is more resilient compared to its previous state. The steel bars and concrete were reinforced. New roofing were also installed.”
Attitudes, too, have shifted. “While we are used to typhoons, things changed after Yolanda,” Kenneth adds. “It taught us to be more prepared than ever before.”