For police inspector (PSI) Al Loren P. Bigay, like many of those in New Washington, Aklan, the sheer magnitude of Typhoon Yolanda was beyond all expectations.
Long since the home of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other government agencies, the municipal building in New Washington was extensively damaged during Yolanda. “The roofing of the old municipal building was blown away, and it took months for it to be repaired,” he says.
Once again operational, the building has since been made more resilient. Painted bright orange, it is also now more visible to the public.
Disaster resilient, inside and out
Yet these seemingly minor physical changes are minor, when compared to the significant shifts in attitudes towards disaster prevention in the municipality.
“After Yolanda, people here are now responsive to early warnings,” Loren says. “Yet it is still a learning process. We conduct regular drills and working towards to educating the community on having their personal initiative to prepare their homes, surroundings and themselves before a typhoon arrives,” he added.