‘One Team’ in times of crisis – a Haiyan story, part 3
On November 8, 2013 Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on the Philippines. This is the story of how NGA’s team in the Philippines rose to the challenge, pulling together as one team and providing relief to those who were hit hardest. This is the 3rd and final blog post in the series.
After partnering with the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, (see part 2), our Internal Communications team at NGA Philippines joined Operation Giant, a Panay Relief program, to hand over PHP 300,000.00 cash donations and in-kind contributions for local beneficiaries across Iloilo and Capiz.
As part of our #tuluNGAn program, launched in response to the Yolanda aftermath, we selected an ‘on-the-ground’ relief operation group based in the heavily affected parts of Western Visayas – an area that had not received much support over the past few months. Operation Giant was selected by NGA HR as it is a private, non-government team of professionals and entrepreneurs dedicated to one goal - provide immediate aid to hard-to-reach areas.
The team began their first relief program across Isla Gigantes where, alongside another NGO from Germany, they ran a medical mission, and a relief goods and school supplies distribution across the island. Their second project ran across the Iloilo coastlines, where they persuaded donors to contribute towards the creation and provision of fishing boats and temporary housing.
Upon being contacted by NGA Human Resources, the Operation Giant team prepared a four-day project and itinerary; to distribute donations and extend help to four specific communities. Alongside medical representatives and volunteers from across the region and Metro Manila, NGA Philippines was delighted to help as Operation Giant gathered all their resources for this project.
“The donations were a big help, especially for the livelihood programs”, said Emelyn Tiampong, founder of the Operation Giant team. “We are thankful that NGA Human Resources chose Operation Giant as one of its beneficiaries. The donations will be used not just to purchase items for immediate assistance- it would also be used to uphold sustainable livelihood programs for these recovering (fishing) villages.”
The NGA Team, along with Operation Giant representatives, first met at Iloilo City for program briefing, goods repacking and logistics preparation. During the first 36 hours, the teams were able to pack over seven hundred relief bundles, containing food, personal items and clothes.
At daybreak the team headed to Barangay Sua, a coastal village with over two thousand residents. The village had previously received fishing boats from various donors, and NGA HR donated groceries and clothes. NGA also arranged for a construction of another fishing and transport pump boat for the village.
The team then headed to Barangay Batad, another coastal village with more than five thousand residents. The majority of the coastline is still heavily devastated; hence rebuilding the homes and the ports are the utmost priorities. NGA HR donated additional supplies and groceries to sustain both the community’s rebuilding and daily needs.
From Batad, the group went to Barangay Gabi, a village of four thousand residents whose primary source of living is fishing. Being very remote and away from major ports, the villagers have been surviving through generous donations. As well as distributing relief goods to the community, we have commissioned the construction of a customized pump boat that can be converted to a ferry-ambulance.
The final leg of our relief trip started with the team driving from Carles to Rosario, Capiz. Most of the families in Rosario work in the fishing and crop industry. Their homes, fishing vessels, and primary sources of income were wiped out by the storm. The village had not received much attention and help during the past months since Yolanda struck.
During this last day, Operation Giant - along with an NGA representative - distributed over 600 relief packs to all families residing within the municipality. The team also coordinated with medical experts across the city to volunteer for a five-hour medical mission, where professional doctors and practicing nurses conducted routine check-ups and distributed medicines to all of Rosario’s residents. Part of the donations accumulated from the #tuluNGAn program were used to purchase construction materials and tools to aid the home rebuilding projects within the village.
To end the day on a happy note, the team coordinated a fun Magic Show and Raffle Program for the kids (and for the ‘kids at heart’). To help sustain their fishing industry, NGA HR sponsored the building and distribution of an additional pump boat to the Rosario Village. The day ended with smiles across everyone’s faces, with all the help and support bringing a new hope for the coming days.