Typhoon Haiyan: Building back safer

Your donations are helping Ronaldo and his family rebuild the home they lost to the typhoon © CARE

For Rolando Creado, 64, the safest place was to head to the mountains when Typhoon Haiyan hit.

A rice farmer in the village of San Miguelay, about a 45 minute drive from Tacloban City in Leyte, Philippines, he knew things would be bad. After all, in a typical year, his village is flooded about six or seven times from various storms, thanks to a nearby river.

Typhoon Haiyan was imminent, with the threat of ferocious winds and heavy rains. And so Rolando, his wife, son, and grandchild headed to higher ground.

They dug a small foxhole in a field and covered themselves with a tarp, clinging together as the weather began to intensify.

A frightening prospect

The scariest part, he says, were the winds, which scattered trees and other debris. A frightening prospect when your only roof is a tarp in one of the worst storms in recorded history.

Eventually, Rolando says, he wondered if it was time to accept he was going to die. Should he live, he knew there was no way all of his family members and friends would make it out alive.

The storm was just too strong.

Four hours later, when the worst of the storm had passed, they emerged cold and wet from the rain and a stream from the mountains that flowed into their foxhole. 

Returning to a devastated village

They returned to a village utterly devastated, with trees uprooted and shattered homes, including that of Rolando, which he says completely washed away.

Thankfully, despite what Rolando thought earlier, no one died in his village. However, this super typhoon ensured much work would be required to rebuild.

The village “was easily devastated because of all the light materials used” on the houses, says Rolando.

Building back safer

At the end of December, San Miguelay was one of the first communities that CARE and its local partner ACCORD distributed high quality shelter repair kits containing corrugated sheet metal, specialized nails, tools and other useful items. This was coupled with a cash supplement of 3,000 pesos (roughly US$68) to pay for extra materials or labour costs.

Local carpenters are also providing technical training on new methods to “build back safer,” so homes can be built with stronger foundations to face future storms.

Rolando says he is extremely thankful for this assistance and is confident the new materials will better protect the people of his village.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.