For engineer Ardieli A. Ambrosio, the lessons of Super Typhoon Yolanda will remain with the community of Roxas City for a lifetime.
By November 6, those in the coastal areas had already received orders to evacuate. “Even though we have experienced other signal number 3 typhoons, the last time I’d experienced a typhoon like Yolanda was in 1984, with Typhoon Undang,” he remembers.
“Some of the areas in Roxas City were flooded, but not so much in the city proper,” he says. Instead, it was the powerful winds that would see an estimated ninety percent of the roofs in the city hall, public market and civic center destroyed.
At the local market, Rainier M. Cargando, market supervisor, remembers the impact of the damage. “With no roof, when it rains outside, it rains inside,” he says. “We’d receive complaints from the vendors, as this would damage the goods that make up their livelihood. In the rice section especially, everything would get wet.”
City engineers were tasked with preparing the repair works to follow.
“Right after Yolanda, we prepared for the budget costing,” Ardieli explains. “We were uncertain whether we’d have enough for rehabilitation, given the widespread impact and immediate need. Then we learned about the funding assistance from RAY DILG.”
In the city hall, a new roof, gutter and ceiling were installed, and downspouts replaced to better prevent leaks in the building during heavy rains.
“When Typhoon Ruby arrived (in December 2014), the city hall served as one of our evacuation centers,” Ardieli explains. Later, the center would be used to house those who lost their homes during the disaster. “For fifteen days, we placed them in the civic center until such time that we could provide them with more permanent shelter.”
At the market, recovery would take some more time, as vendors had first to repair their houses before returning to their stalls. Fortunately, a more sustained recovery has allowed time for more resilient measures to be established, says Rainier.
“We are used to typhoon signal number 3 so we assumed that we can withstand Yolanda,” he says. “Now we’ve learned, and have ensured that our houses are stronger in preparation for future calamities.”