When Super Typhoon Yolanda struck Leyte province, the eye of the storm passed through the municipality of Palompon. Destruction was wrought upon some 80% of the town’s homes and infrastructure, while storm surge waves were estimated to reach a height of some 4 meters.
For Ramon Oñate, Palompon’s municipal mayor, the memories of Super Typhoon Yolanda are of numerous challenges.
“At around 6:00 am on November 8, we could sense that the strong winds had arrived,” he says.
“We have a staff from the other building who ran going here in the municipal hall in the middle of (the typhoon). He was blown away by the strong winds.
“We faced so many challenges after the typhoon,” Mayor Ramon says. “We didn’t have an office anymore. Almost all of the roofs were blown by Yolanda, and almost 90% of the houses were destroyed. If not for our mangroves, we may have experienced even more devastation,” he added.
Rehabilitation after the storm
“After a month, we began the recovery process,” Mayor Ramon says. “Then, assistance from the NGOs and national government agencies were extended.
“When we received the RAY DILG fund, our immediate priority was our public market. Some people from the nearby towns came here to purchase construction materials, like cement: we even had buyers from Tacloban City. Our businessmen became known and their businesses became more profitable after Yolanda as they were the suppliers who were able to return to business quickly, once the market was repaired,” Mayor Ramon says.
Michael S. Pasana, a local market vendor, agrees. “After the typhoon, I cannot recognize our market anymore,” he remembers. “The entire roof was blown off, and lay scattered in the street.
“Yet when our market was fixed, it was convenient for us to sell again,” he says. “Had the DILG not provided us with the RAY fund, maybe it will take additional time for our market to recover.”
Improvements at the municipal hall have also assisted in large-scale recovery efforts, providing a comfortable space for the provision of basic government services. “Even the people here commends its new look after Yolanda. The improvement in our infrastructure helped a lot in our recovery, “ Mayor Ramon added.