Footprints: Recovery from Yolanda
Eastern Visayas, the home of resilient people. Bangon!
Everybody remembers the wrath of super typhoon Yolanda which hit Leyte and Samar on November 8, 2013. In history, it was the most powerful and deadliest super typhoon ever recorded. It was indeed a remarkable disastrous event in the world that no one could ever imagine that it ended thousands of lives, left people homeless, mourning and hungry. Millions of properties were lost including their main source of livelihood.
Eastern Visayas is primarily an agricultural region with rice, corn, coconut, sugarcane and banana as its major crops. However, the aftermath of Yolanda left farmers in despair. Base on the report of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), regional office 8, eighteen (18) national irrigation systems (NIS) and seventy-nine (79) communal irrigations systems were affected, covering 9, 258 irrigated rice areas. Also, 50 units of postharvest facilities, the regional office and all satellite offices were damaged.
In sincere effort, temporary remedial measures cooperatively undertaken by the NIA, irrigators’ associations (IA), local government unit (LGU), government organizations (GO)and local and international non-government organizations (NGO), thus resulted to restoration of irrigation water.
NIA Intervention for Yolanda Repair, Rehabilitation and Restoration
The NIA, being responsible in planning, constructing, operating and maintaining irrigation systems, it completed CY 2016 Yolanda Projects funded by the Climate Change Yolanda Fund with a total budget amounting to P498M. These projects were implemented in eighteen (18) National Irrigation Systems (NIS), covering twelve (12) municipalities in Leyte (MacArthur, Leyte, Ormoc City, Sta. Fe, Pastrana, Javier, Burauen, Mayorga, Dagami, Tabon-tabon, Hilongos, Alang-alang, Julita, Barugo and Palo), one (1) municipality in Southern Leyte (Hinunangan), and one (1) municipality in Samar (Basey).
These projects include earth canal lining of 0.78 km.; canal lining of 64.75km.; drainage canal of 3.44km.; protection works of 2.88km.; irrigation structures of 51 units; and dam repair of 2 units. Also, these restored a total area of 266 hectares and rehabilitated 6,431 hectares.
Subsequently, CY 2017 Yolanda project under the Climate Change Adaptation Works (CCAW) was completed in August 2018 with a total budget amounting to P3M. Then CY 2017 projects under the Upgrading NIS Damaged by Typhoon Yolanda, 15 out of 18 programmed projects were completed with a total budget amounting to P555M. The projects include 131.96km canal lining; 30 units of irrigation structures; 11.12km service roads; 0.21km protection works; and 96 units of steel gates, which resulted to 1,690 hectares area rehabilitated. Accomplishment for CY 2017 project implementation is now at 95.42% and remaining projects are on-going.
For CY 2018, there were seven (7) programmed projects, three (3) were completed, two (2) are on-going, and two (2) were suspended due to water delivery and extension of cropping operation. This project has a total budget amounting to P179M, covering six (6) municipalities. Currently, the projects accomplishment are 38km canal lining, 0.86km protection works, 14 irrigation structures, 2.95km service road, 19 units of steel gates or 89.21% accomplishment.
Assistance from other relevant interested parties
The local government unit (LGU), government organizations (GO) and local and international non-government organizations (NGO) extended their assistance for the repair of PHF, Cash for Work Program, Trainings, Building and Repair of IA Office, Farm Inputs and Farm equipment to start farming operation. While the IA voluntarily helped in clearing operation.
With these bayanihan and support, the farmers were encouraged to improve or enhance their performance in the IA. The challenge of Yolanda opened better opportunities to farmers which brought them to greater heights.
“Nagpapasalamat po kami sa mga tumulong sa amin para makabangon. Pagsasaka po ang aming pinagkukunan ng pang araw-araw na gastusin. Nung dumating si Yolanda, nawala ito lahat. Hindi na po namin alam kung ano ang gagawin. Pero ang NIA po ay nagclearing agad sa mga canal, inayos din po ang mga sirang canal at dam. Pagkatapos po nun, marami na pong dumating na mga assistance galing sa iba’t-ibang ahensya para tulungan din kaming magsasaka. Kaya ilang buwan makalipas ang Yolanda, nakapagsimula na ulit kami. Dahil po sa mga tulong na natanggap, kami pong magsasaka ay tumaas ang morale kaya nagpursige din po kami hanggang nanging Outstanding IA po kami”, said Ditas dela Peña, Kasaganahan IA President.
The Kasaganahan IA Office, Palo, Leyte was damaged by Yolanda. The IA president lends their “bahay-kubo” for the IA to have their temporary office, where they can continue their activities and transactions. The Kasaganahan IA was the first IA to resume farming operations because of the IA officers’ commitment and cooperation of the members. They were able to established linkages and coordinated with the INGOs, NGOs, DA, DENR, PCA and other agri-support agencies. The IA was a recipient of the institutionalization of farm service providers and enterprise transformer projects of OXFAM’s typhoon Haiyan response and recovery program. The IA received head water buffalo, hand tractor, rice thresher, knapsack sprayer, shovel, hoe, bolo, plow and harrow, set of farm tools/equipment, planting materials, fertilizers and office supplies. They have also received a grains solar dryer from USAID.
In fact, the Kasaganahan IA had a back-to-back win for the Rice Achievers Award in 2016 and 2017—Special Awardee, received cash prize amounting to P100, 000.00 and Outstanding IA, received cash prize amounting to P500, 000.00, respectively.
Appreciation from NIA Management
The NIA Management is grateful for the sincere effort and support for making it possible to rehabilitate, restore, repair, and upgrade irrigation facilities to be disaster resilient structures. It will cater better irrigation services consistent with integrated water resource management principles to improve agricultural productivity and increase income of farmers, especially those who were victims of Yolanda. Everyone made it possible. The devastation, taught us lessons to be engraved in one’s heart—to be resilient. Resiliency was described in 2018 NIA’s theme, “Transforming Challenges into Infinite Opportunities”.
That landfall will always be part of the history of Eastern Visayas for claiming that it is the home of the resilient people.