Limestone cave becomes an evacuation center

06.10.2016 - 13:14 -
In the past, the Philippines were repeatedly hit by severe typhoons. As a consequence of climate change the inhabitants will have to be prepared for further natural disasters. In order to protect themselves and their children against similar catastrophes in the future, we jointly develop a comprehensive management for disaster preparation.

35-year old Samuel Ogardo lives with his wife Emmy and their seven children on the Philippian Island Samar, which is one of the poorest in the whole area. Like many other families in the Barangay Tinabanan on Samar, Emmy and Samuel always struggled to make a living. But their situation got even worse in November 2013 as Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons of all times, hit the Philippine islands of Visayas and left behind a trail of destruction. Although the family found shelter in a limestone cave, the Typhoon razed their home to the ground. After losing everything they possessed, the family had no choice but to start over and rebuild their home from the debris the storm left.

Since August Samuel Ogardo and 14 other local craftsmen work on an enhancement of the limestone cave. To make better use of these traditional shelters in the case of further natural disasters, we expand them to evacuation centers in cooperation with our local partner Food for the Hungry Philippines (FHP). Among other things our team establishes first aid stations, sets up cooking areas, facilitates the access to the cave and provides clean water.

Samuel is happy to work for the project, as it allows him to send his children to school and to provide for his family. At the same time he supports his community and learns much about security and the importance of being prepared for further catastrophes. He knows that even if future typhoons cannot be averted, it is now easier for the people on Samar to seek shelter in the caves.  

In other Barangays of Samar arche noVa together with FHP establishes evacuation centers as well, develops disaster plans and carries out emergency exercises. In case of natural disasters a good preparation and reasoned evacuation plans are essential. As further measures mangrove trees are planted in the coastal area, because they prevent erosion and contain the strength of wind and waves, hence they are another natural protection against climate change.