It has been just four short months since Typhoon Haiyan struck and inflicted untold damage across the Philippines.

“My husband was the only one not in tears, but he was frozen. I thought it was the end of the road.”

In Jaro, a northern province of Leyte Island, GOAL has been working closely with local authorities and communities to expedite recovery, reaching over 50,000 people in the process.

Sitting beneath a newly-built home of corrugated iron sheets, and coconut tree lumber, Imelda Cañite brims with pride as she talks about her recent home improvements,

"The corrugated iron sheets provided by GOAL mean that we no longer have to worry every time it rains."

Imelda is a single mother of seven. Her youngest child is just six months-old, and another three children are under the age of 12. When the typhoon hit her village of Pitogo, she was at home with her six daughters. A son, Reymond, was in Tacloban, where he studies.

Pitogo was braced for a storm, but nothing like the magnitude that struck. Without a television or radio for news updates, Imelda, amongst many others was not adequately prepared.

Haiyan hit at 5am, and Imelda remembers the house shaking as it was battered by the wind and rain. She recalls how they heard the house behind them collapsing, and not long after that her neighbour, Melanie, with her two children and husband, rushing into their home to take cover. For two hours, 11 people lay on the floor, cramped into a small space, as the typhoon grew stronger.

"We were terrified and couldn’t help but cry,” explains Melanie, another beneficiary of GOAL’s programme. “My husband was the only one not in tears, but he was frozen. I thought it was the end of the road."

GOAL has distributed 600 shelter kits to families it deemed most vulnerable and most affected by Typhoon Haiyan. In addition to roofing materials, a cash grant of 3,000 pesos (around US$60) was given to each family.

The cash has proved invaluable, allowing families to prioritise their own needs for the home and simultaneously stimulating the local economy, which was in desperate need of help after Haiyan.

A ‘Build Back Safer’ training seminar for affected families has similarly been extremely effective in ensuring that homes will be more resilient in the future.

At Macopa, a village about 10 kilometres from Pitogo, a similar story is told. Mr. Macabenta (78) described how he, his wife and granddaughter took shelter amongst the trees, simply “hoping (they) would make it through alive.”

In the weeks after Typhoon Haiyan, they constructed a makeshift home, using wood and debris they had gathered, and a tarpaulin supplied by GOAL: “It was our only protection from the rain.”

The roofing materials and cash grant supplied by GOAL has improved their living conditions immeasurably. Not only has the corrugated iron provided safe, dry shelter but the cash grant has allowed Mr. Macabenta to buy high grade lumber, have it cut to size, and pay for labour and carpentry.

GOAL spoke with Mr. Macabenta just as the finishing touches were being put to his new home. He told us:

"We feel better now because we can rest. We feel safe and are so very thankful to GOAL."

By Kevin Murphy, GOAL Humanitarian Officer

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