Fellows Lead Relief Operations for Typhoon Odette Victims

By Andy Alegre, Global Fellow from the Philippines

With support from Goldin Institute board member Nathan Shapiro, I joined forces with Goldin Institute associate Susana Anayatin to deliver critical food and supplies to 482 families who were impacted by Typhoon Odette in the Philippines.

Leveraging our local contacts and connections with the Humanitarian Order of Sierra Falcones, Inc. (SF), Eastern Samar Chapter, we were able to distribute 482 relief packages filled with food, supplies, clothes and toys to targeted households affected by Typhoon Odette (International name, Rai) in Barangay Lunas, Maasin City, in Southern Leyte.

Barangay Lunas is a small community affected by Odette within the overall area of Maasin, which has a population of 87,446. The city is one of the hardest hit by the typhoon in the disaster-hit region in the Visayas with power yet to be restored and intermittent communication service.

The SF members and volunteers were assisted by barangay officials in the distribution of relief supplies. The food and non-food items were prepared and repacked over a few days in Borongan City, Eastern Samar through the support and donation of various partners, organizations, individuals, and volunteers. These critical supplies were then loaded in a truck and sent to Maasin City. Coordination efforts were made by SF volunteer, Mr. Ariel Mendez of the Lunas Elementary School to the barangay council for the relief efforts.

The area remains in need of support even though the Typhoon made landfall back on 16 December 2021. It brought torrential rains, violent winds, landslides, and storm surges. UN OCHA reported on December 30, that over 6.2 million people were affected across 10 regions. About 580,000 remain internally displaced with 356,000 people staying in evacuation centres while 227,000 people staying with host families or friends. The total death count is 397.

SF continues to plan and coordinate relief operations to different areas through its members and volunteers located in various chapters. Apart from the ongoing relief operations, SF strengthens its education programs through book drives, provision of education materials and radio-based instructions to remote communities at this time of pandemic.

Again, thank you to the board and staff of the Goldin Institute, especially Nathan Shapiro, for standing with us in this time of crisis and rebuilding.