For residents like Marlene B. Supatan, of San Miguel, Leyte, memories of Super Typhoon Yolanda could only be described as terrifying.
Marlene, along with other local residents, evacuated to a nearby elementary school in the lead-up to the typhoon’s arrival.
“We thought that the school was safe, and that it could protect us,” she remembers. “But it collapsed. The strong winds stripped the roof off. Cracks began appearing the walls, and we ducked to avoid being hit by falling debris, wood: even stones.”
As the typhoon continued elsewhere on its destructive path, she returned home, and saw the extensive damage that the typhoon had caused.
“We gathered the damaged roof and used parts of it as makeshift shelter,” she says. “We used bamboo as temporary flooring. Luckily, aid arrived and provided us with food supplies.”
“We may not have had any casualties from the typhoon, but our livelihood was destroyed,” she says. “Many trees were uprooted and our crops were damaged.”
Amongst the extensive destruction were some local government infrastructure including the local civic center.
The civic center was already in need of some repair and maintenance, even prior to Yolanda’s arrival, say local residents. This is part of the reason why unlike in nearby municipalities, and other Yolanda-affected communities across the Philippines, the civic center was not used as an evacuation center.
As the recovery began, RAY DILG funds were provided to allow for the repair of the civic center. A new roof was installed, damaged doors, windows and gutters were replaced, and sections were freshly painted.
“Now, it’s a much better space,” Marlene says. “The civic center is more useful and beautiful. Our community uses it for basketball games, school activities and other local programs.”
This is one small, yet significant step in an ongoing recovery, Marlene believes. “There are so many repair works being done in our town,” she says. “Assistance from other towns arrived also. Some facilities still need funding for rehabilitation works, but the town is already recovering.”
“I hope that more help will come to fix our damaged structures so that it will be beneficial to the municipality,” Marlene says. “With help and time, we will regain what was lost.”