LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Heifer International) - An assessment team from Heifer Philippines made contact with Heifer farmers in Ormoc, Calubian and Leyte reporting no loss of life from project families but significant or complete damage to homes and crops, and loss of livestock. Many families are crediting Heifer's Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) trainings with saving their lives during super typhoon Haiyan.
Susana and Florencio Talle told Heifer Philippines regional manager Rico Locaba they were thankful their family of nine made it through the storm, and said that the outcome may have been different if they had not had the disaster preparedness training.
"We are thankful for the Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction Training Heifer gave us. Our family seriously prepared for the typhoon. It saved our lives," Susana said.
The Talles' home was destroyed by the powerful winds, which made landfall in Eastern Visayas last Friday, but the disaster preparedness training taught them other valuable lessons, which they said they were already applying.
"Thank you for teaching us the value of savings. With our savings we immediately bought nails necessary to fix our home, but we need more to make it sturdier and safer especially for our children," Susana said.
Heifer Philippines pioneered the Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction training four years ago after Heifer identified the exposed island nation as its number one country of concern in terms of natural disasters. Saving money is part of that training, along with securing livestock, water, firewood and feed, harvesting crops for food, and safeguarding important papers.
"We are very thankful to Heifer for the CMDRR workshops. It enabled us to achieve zero casualties in our municipality, unlike in our adjacent towns. Heifer is the first organization to check on our condition and situation," said Agustin Dignos, representative of Calubian Municipal Mayor Doroteo Palconit.
In the next few days, the Heifer Philippines team will purchase additional immediate assistance materials from Mindanao in the Southern Philippines and transport them to the project families in the central region. Heifer Philippines is also assessing the option to have Heifer families in the Southern Philippines project area to help package immediate need items, a model adopted by Heifer as a best practice after Typhoon Bopha.
Heifer Philippines is working directly with NetHope, a consortium formed by international NGOs in the Philippines under the InterAction group of the United States. Their original purpose is to set-up/provide communications access during emergency situations like disasters through innovative communications technologies so that the situation and damage done can be reported in a timely basis. This will then pave the way for NetHope members to send relief supplies and set up base in areas where relief operations can be launched.
Heifer International President and CEO, Pierre Ferrari, said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in the Philippines during this difficult time."
You can directly support Heifer International's project farmers in the Philippines by donating at http://www.heifer.org/haiyan and keep up to date about Heifer participants at our the World Ark Blog.
(Source: Heifer International)