Community rebuilds hope after devastating storm
February 3, 2014
As November began, the world focused on a massive storm fast approaching the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, crashed into the island nation on Nov. 7, 2013.
Members of the Unbound community pitch in to help build Antonio's
Within a few days, the storm had come and gone, leaving parts of the Philippines devastated. The Unbound community mourned as the news reported thousands had been killed, and we braced for reports from our regional offices.
We heard with relief that not one person from our Unbound family — sponsored child, elderly person or staff member — lost their life in the storm.
Thanks to people like Reynaldo, father of a sponsored child and leader of the ERPATs (a fathers service group) in the Iloilo area, sponsored persons and their families were evacuated to safety before the storm hit.
Reynaldo dutifully looked after his community. His mother helped his kids evacuate so he was on hand to help other families in need.
"The typhoon was really dangerous and destructive," Reynaldo said. "That's why I decided to do an early evacuation for all the people living near the coastal areas. And thank God there were no casualties in my area."
"Our house was destroyed by the wind and huge waves coming from the sea," Antonio said. "We're so thankful that we had been advised by Mr. Reynaldo to leave and evacuate our house because, if not, we might be dead now."
After the storm passed, the work of recovery began. Antonio and his wife were among many whose homes were destroyed. Others also found damaged houses or devastated crops when they returned home.
Many of the ERPAT fathers, including Reynaldo, are carpenters and put their skills to use rebuilding homes lost to the storm. They used materials purchased with disaster assistance funds from Unbound.
Antonio and Margarita were among those whose homes were rebuilt thanks to a community effort. While fathers led the rebuilding, mothers and staff members pitched in with labor and cooking meals.
"I would like to thank Unbound for helping us," Antonio said. "Without them, my wife and I would not be able to eat and we would not be able to rebuild our house."
Reynaldo, expressing a belief shared by Unbound, affirmed, "If we will help each other, there's nothing we cannot do."
Antonio in front of his new home.
Antonio, a sponsored elderly member, and his wife, Margarita, were evacuated by Reynaldo.
Disaster funds aid in rebuilding
Antonio and Margarita are among 657 families in the Philippines getting help from Unbound repairing or rebuilding homes after Haiyan. In addition, 96 families who depend on fishing and farming for their livelihoods will be able to replace lost equipment or crops.
The homes are being built with materials used in local construction. In the community where Antonio and Margarita live, for example, homes are made of bamboo.
Trisha Pitts, who works with Philippine projects for Unbound, said the Philippine people have shown tremendous resilience in recovering from disasters.
“With help from the Unbound project in providing building materials, food, blankets and other emergency needs, they get right to work rebuilding,” she said.