Families in Limasawa rebuild their lives after Odette
UNICEF and partners, funded by UN Central Emergency Response Fund, provide cash assistance to families for toilet repairs and help promote Zero Open Defecation in communities.
Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) destroyed key houses and infrastructure damaging access to clean water. “The devastation caused by Typhoon Odette is too much to bear for a family with existing vulnerabilities. With the help of our donors, our aim in our WASH interventions is to reduce the risk of disease by providing safe water, installing access to adequate and appropriate sanitation, and promoting proper hygiene behavior,” says Carlos Vasquez, UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
Having clean and functioning toilets at home and in common areas are important in order to achieve safe and healthy living conditions especially during the pandemic. UNICEF and partners provided cash assistance for toilet repairs at home, assisted in the rehabilitation of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and distributed family hygiene and dignity kits.
Through the support of United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), UNICEF and partner Plan International provided cash assistance for toilet repairs of 471 families living in Limasawa, Southern Leyte.
Eriel Espina, a resident in Brgy. Triana and a father of 5, recalled how they survived Odette. Their house was completely destroyed but all family members were safe. For now, they are sharing a toilet with their neighbor.
"With the help of our donors, our aim in our WASH interventions is to reduce the risk of disease by providing safe water, installing access to adequate and appropriate sanitation, and promoting proper hygiene behavior”
Judith’s 30-year-old son helps repair their house and their toilet. Their house was completely destroyed, only the front door remains. She is very grateful to survive and is thankful for all the help that they received.
Analyn Losdo, a resident of Brgy. Cabulihan, proudly shared their efforts in constructing their toilet after receiving ₱6,000 in financial assistance.
“Our toilet is just made of galvanized iron sheets and then it was destroyed by Odette but now it is made out of hollow blocks because of the help from Plan and UNICEF,” Analyn shared.
According to Rendell Ann Balane, RHMPP, Sanitary Inspector Designate (SID) in Limasawa, the toilet repair cash assistance supports the households with the greatest need. Among the selected beneficiaries, many had totally damaged houses, persons with disabilities and children living in the household, an income below PHP 8,000, or are members of the Governments 4Ps program.
“The people are sharing toilets especially in the evacuation area. They also have hand pumps or deep well water in some areas. Last 2017, we were considered as Grade 1 in the Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) program because there are only a few households who have no toilets yet. But when Odette happened, we resorted to open defecation (or Grade 0),” shared Rendell in terms of the status of hygiene and access to clean water of the people in the island.
She feels like all their hard work was wasted due to the typhoon. But she is grateful that UNICEF, Plan International and other organizations are helping them promote the Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) program once again. Achieving ZOD is critical in a community because it means that every household has access to working toilets and it will help protect communities from diseases such as diarrhea and if left untreated may be fatal.
Access to clean water and proper sanitation is always a challenge during and after disasters especially in an island community like Limasawa. Community efforts are important to secure access to this important resource. #