Typhoon Hitting the Philippines: Building Disaster-Resistant Housing on Your Own

The typhoon Yolanda (typhoon No.30 of 2013 in Japanese numbering) struck the Philippines on November 11, 2013.  AAR Japan dispatched an emergency support team to the devastated area and has since been engaged in supporting activities. 

Distributing house repair materials to 2,224 households 

In the Philippines, 1.14 million houses were either completely or partially destroyed by the typhoon Yolanda.  Victims were covering blown off roofs with plastic sheets or erecting tents to take shelter near their destroyed homes, and forced to live difficult lives.  Since December, 2013, AAR Japan prepared sets of repair materials for housing such as tin plates and nails, and distributed them to suffering families – especially those having persons with disabilities – amounting to a total of 2,224 households (approximately 11,000 people).
“Thanks a lot to the AAR support.  We shall share the learned techniques with the local people,” say the carpenters who participated in the training course for constructing disaster-resistant houses, standing side-by-side with Mr. Yuta Funakoshi of AAR (right). (April 30, 2014)

Learning house construction through lectures and practices

In the Philippines, many carpenters are undertrained, or even self-taught, and yet actually build and repair houses.  Furthermore, people who cannot afford to hire professional carpenters have no choice but to repair their houses by themselves.  AAR Japan therefore initiated not only the distribution of housing repair materials, but also organizing training courses for both carpenters and local people. These courses include lectures on the structure of disaster-resistant housing and practical training through the use of miniatures on techniques for reinforcing homes.  The first training course was attended by a total of 40 carpenters from two villages north of Tacloban City, and at the second course those same carpenters taught the local community without charge.

The carpenters learn the structure of disaster-resistant housing from the construction engineer. ( April 30, 2014.  Tacloban City) 
The learned reinforcement technique to avoid house collapse is confirmed with use of a miniature, and applied afterward to actual construction works. ( May 19, 2014. Tacloban City) 

“I shall rebuild my house on my own.”  

Mr. Richard Binko at Santo Nino Village in Tacloban City had his house completely destroyed by the typhoon.  Nevertheless, he is determined to rebuild his house, using the repair materials delivered by AAR and applying the knowledge obtained through the AAR training course.  “As I cannot afford to employ carpenters, I will build the house by myself.  Because of the training course, I am now confident to build a safer and stronger house,” said Mr. Binko.
Mr. Richard Binko stands in front of the ruins of his house that was completely destroyed by the typhoon.  (June 19, 2014) 
AAR Japan will continue distributing repair materials for housing and organizing training courses for the many people whom the assistance has yet to reach.

These activities are being carried out thanks to the generous donations of our supporters such as yourself and the support of the Japan Platform (JPF).

Yuta FUNAKOSHI, AAR Japan the Philippines Office (profile as of the date of the article)
Mr. FUNAKOSHI was posted at AAR Japan the Philippines Office from January to July, 2014.  After graduating from a university, he worked for an insurance company for five years.  Having studied conflict resolution at a graduate school in the United Kingdom, he joined AAR Japan.  He says that he was encouraged in the Philippines by the local people uttering, “Yuta, thank you for the construction materials!  Come and visit my newly completed house!”  Mr. Funakoshi is from Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

Japanese-English translation by Mr Yukio Kiuchi
English editing by Mr Allan Richardz

The article on this page has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.