Almost two months on since Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and the situation is far from normal for many families living in the Municipality of Tanauan, Leyte. For those communities living along the coastal barangay of San Roque, the situation is still extremely dire after their homes, possessions and livelihoods were washed away from the powerful storm surges that unforgivingly struck the local coastline on November 8, 2013.
For outsiders; the recovery must seem incredibly simple. Just rebuild the homes and restore the lives of those families that have been so tragically affected. Unfortunately, the recovery efforts for the coastline communities in Tanauan, Leyte are not as simple as what they first seem. The first complication arises as a result of the sheer devastation inflicted to the local landscape; it’s not only homes and possessions that have been destroyed, but also the vast majority of the local livelihood. Aside from that, most families cannot rebuild on the original site of their previous homes since they did not previously own the land or because the site of their previous home lies within 50 meters of the shoreline – an area which has been strictly blacklisted for building upon.
So, what’s the solution? Well that’s what the VFV team have been looking into over the last week through a series of conversations with local community members and families. Rebuilding at the present moment in time is completely out of the question; since families have not been allocated any land to start construction on.
Instead, VFV are looking into livelihood development as an immediate means to assist the families of children enrolled on it’s Child Sponsorship Program. Several options are still being discussed and evaluated, but as of right now a micro-lending program to construct and distribute fishing boats seems to be trumping other options. The advantages of this set-up will reduce the sentiment of dependency for many families by giving them the opportunity to once again create their own livelihood and build their own future. Restoring basic services such as fishing will also help stimulate the local economy, drive down the local cost of fish and as a result benefit the extended community of the area as a whole.
The situation in Tanauan is still incredibly complex and it will take time to ensure the exact deliverables of this project in order to assure long-term sustainability; however VFV are adamant on piloting the project within the next thirty days.
Until then families in San Roque cannot be fully rehabilitated, many of them will continue to be dependent on relief goods for the foreseeable future. The situation in San Roque is tough, it’s a uphill battle, but the families have not been forgotten.
We’re eager to hear your thoughts on our plans for San Roque. If you have any comments or suggestions, please submit them below. Further updates will be available in due course.