This responds to the immediate needs of communities affected by disasters through the provisions of medical supplies, drinking water, food, hygiene kits, temporary shelters, and other immediate needs. A rapid needs assessment is conducted to evaluate if the area needs further intervention, such as rehabilitation.
A few days after distributing 4, 730 food packs in Tacloban City, a city badly devastated by the supertyphoon, Good Neighbors (GN) moved to Guiuan, conducted a rapid needs assessment in the municipality, and planned out the form of intervention to bring in. The immediate need of the survivors for food and drinking water was addressed first. GN allotted 3,025 food packs for the families in six barangays of Guiuan, which were distributed on November 24–26, 2013. Each food pack contains 5 kilograms of rice, 6 liters of drinking water, 1 pack of biscuits, 2 canned goods, and 1 liter of fresh milk. These barangays were identified by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development office as highly affected areas.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) has conducted regular cluster coordination meetings in Eastern Samar, its base situated in Guiuan. The coordination meetings involved different international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) that are doing relief operations in the area, some national government agencies, and the local government. The purpose of such meetings was to ensure that there is no duplication of assistance provided by INGOs in the affected areas. The meetings also tried to achieve proper coordination among those organizations involved.
Through the cluster system approach of the United Nations, the initiatives of UN and non-UN organizations were efficiently distributed in the different clusters—food security; nutrition; health; education; early recovery; water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); logistics; emergency shelter; camp coordination and management (CCM); emergency telecommunication (ETC); and protection. UN OCHA is targeting the whole province of Eastern Samar, which is composed of 22 municipalities and 1 city, but is giving priority to nine badly hit municipalities. These municipalities are Balangiga, Giporlos, Guiuan, Hernani, Lawaan, Mercedes, Quinapondan, Salcedo, and General MacArthur. GN’s main focus is the municipality of Guiuan, and its intervention falls under three of the eleven clusters mentioned—education cluster, WASH cluster, and emergency shelter cluster.
On December 9–10, 2013, GN, in coordination with the Department of Health, determined which barangays in Guiuan have the biggest need for hygiene kits. The hygiene kits were distributed to 1,998 families in six identified barangays. Each kit includes 2 tubes of toothpaste (150 mL), 6 toothbrushes, 4 bars of laundry soap (380 g), 1 pair of nail clippers, 3 packs of sanitary pads (8 pads/pack), 12 bars of bath soap (135 g), 2 blankets, a pail with cover (16 L), and a dipper. From December 16 to 18, mosquito nets were distributed to 2,814 households in five barangays of Guiuan as part of the organization’s intervention in the health cluster.
As communities undergo the process of rehabilitation, UNICEF, GN, and the Department of Education–Eastern Samar Division took the initiative of bringing both the teachers and the students back to learning mode. The School-Based Child-Friendly Space project of GN aims to give priority to children’s well-being and the fulfilment of their rights even in disasters—that is, the rights to education and protection. In consultation with the Department of Education–Eastern Samar Division office, seventeen schools were identified as beneficiaries of the school tents, teacher’s tables and chairs, armchairs, movable whiteboards, and school supplies. The school project also includes the construction of six classrooms, interagency psychosocial activities, a 100-day feeding program, and WASH promotion. The implementation of these subprojects will be in the first quarter of 2014.
On October 15, 2013, the Philippines got struck with what has been considered as the deadliest earthquake in twenty-three years. The 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Central Visayas, particularly Bohol and Cebu. In Bohol alone, where majority of the damage took place, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported 209 dead, 877 injured, and 8 missing people. The damage to infrastructure and properties reached an estimated PHP2.2 billion. The entire population of Bohol, which is more than 1.2 million, was affected. Some portions of the chocolate hills, one of Bohol’s most famous tourist attractions, collapsed. Bohol’s centuries-old churches were also badly damaged.
A quick response team from GNIP was immediately sent to Bohol to assess the extent of damage brought by the earthquake. With most of the residential houses destroyed, the team considered shelter as the top priority of the people. The team further assessed that the municipality of Tubigon, which recorded the biggest number of casualties, qualifies as recipient of temporary shelters and blankets. A total of 500 families from the thirteen mainland barangays and five island barangays of the said municipality received one temporary shelter (tent) and three blankets each. A total of 500 tents and 1,500 blankets were distributed by GNIP to the earthquake survivors. This emergency response was in partnership with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
Three months after Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) and the heavy rains that followed brought interruption to the classes in the schools of Guiuan, the challenge of getting the children back to school arose. One of the strategies executed by Good Neighbors to deal with this challenge was the 28–day feeding program conducted from February 12 to March 21, 2014, at Guiuan East Central Elementary School. The beneficiaries of this were 1,204 preschoolers and primary school children (grades 1–3). The daily school feeding, which served healthy meals, was in partnership with the school administration and the Parents–Teachers Association of the said school.
The international headquarters of Good Neighbors (GN) also held its first psychosocial support in the Philippines on February 24–28, 2014, at Lupok Central Elementary School. The GN staff trained a total of 26 teachers from the said school in handling the psychosocial activities. These teachers then conducted sessions to 125 grade 5 students. The program included creative activities, helpful workbooks, and kits that are useful in helping both the teachers and children survivors understand the levels of emotions that they had to go through because of the typhoon. The program also aimed at helping the survivors deal with emergency situations better.