Sitio Baguidanan is a remote village six hours from Davao City in Mindanao.
This village was one of many badly damaged by Typhoon Bopha, a category 5 super-typhoon with winds of up to 278 km/hr. Bopha hit the southern Philippines in December 2013.
After the Response phase of providing people with food, drink and basic shelter, the people of Sitio Baguidanan and Caritas workers set about building new houses. This is part of the Recovery phase.
Millions of coconut trees had been damaged by the typhoon, so people used wood from these trees for the new houses.
The plan was to ‘build back better’ so that the new houses would be better able to withstand strong winds. This relates to the Mitigation phase. Do you notice that this house is on stilts? What is the benefit of this?
The people used techniques like strapping to make the houses stronger. The metal straps join the house to the foundations and the roof to the walls.
The houses were also moved away from the valley floor to decrease the risk of flooding Using strapping to strengthen the houses and re-locating the houses are examples of mitigation. Mitigation means ‘reducing the impact’ of something.
Villagers have been encouraged to grow a range of plants and crops. This is good for the soil.
Isabel has planted a range of plants in her garden including fennel, herbs, lemongrass, kumara, banana, eggplant, cassava, sugar cane and okra.
Multi-cropping means growing many different things in one place. Why is this a good idea?
Hermie and Oping are a couple who live not far from Baguidanan. They are enthusiastic about teaching people about organic gardening.
They believe that by growing food without chemical pesticides the soil will be better and the food will also be better. It is hoped these crops will be more resilient to the effects of storms and floods.
Here Hermie and Oping are speaking with Murray (a Caritas NZ staff member) about their work.
Hermie and Oping gave up higher-paying jobs in town in order to move back to the country and teach people about growing better crops. They say they love this work.
Subsidiarity Hermie and Oping are educating people so they can make their own choices. Allowing people to make their own decisions about how they choose to grow their food is an example of subsidiarity. The Catholic social teaching principle of Subsidiarity upholds human dignity.
Caritas Philippines and Caritas Aotearoa NZ are interested in helping rural Filipino communities become more Resilient. Resilence is the ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner. United Nations definition
Resilience is also about mitigation; rebuilding in such a way that future typhoons will not cause so much damage.