Helping Typhoon-Affected Families in the Philippines Return Home
In response to a U.S. disaster declaration in the Philippines due to the effects of Typhoon Rammasun, USAID provided $150,000 to World Vision to support the return of 600 families to their homes in typhoon-affected areas.
Typhoon Rammasun—known in the Philippines as Typhoon Glenda—barreled across the Philippines’ Luzon Island in mid-July 2014, leaving 98 people dead and damaging or destroying more than 118,200 houses. When forecasters predicted that the storm would strike the coastal community of Casiguran in Sorsogon Province, the local disaster committee set out to notify residents, spreading the word using radios, phones, television messages, and printed warnings. Thanks to this early warning system, nearly 10,000 people—more than 30 percent of the municipality’s 30,100 residents—evacuated before the storm hit, sheltering in pre-identified evacuation centers, such as the local school gym.
Leonardo and Norma Guasa, along with their seven children—ranging in age from 20-year-old Crisanto to one-year-old Lanie—were among those who sheltered in the gym. When they returned home after the storm passed, they found that the typhoon had blown away the walls and roof of their family house. Though Typhoon Rammasun did not result in any deaths or injuries in Casiguran, thanks to the proactive evacuations, more than 3,380 homes in the community were damaged or destroyed.
To help Casiguran rebuild, USAID partnered with World Vision International to distribute 600 shelter kits—containing galvanized iron sheets, plywood, nails, blankets, mosquito nets, and plastic mats—to support families like the Guasas to return home. In addition to response programs like this one, USAID also works across the Philippines to reduce risks before disasters strike by strengthening warning systems, mapping and reducing community vulnerabilities, creating response plans, and providing trainings and relief supplies. Casiguran is a great example of how preparedness programs like these can minimize damage when disaster hits. While preparedness and planning before Typhoon Rammasun saved lives, the Guasas expressed gratitude that USAID and World Vision International were helping the community recover and rebuild after the storm ended.