In April, Francesco Paganini (right), UMCOR’s International Disaster Response executive, takes questions from Tanuan community members in a barangay (community) open meeting.
By David Tereshchuk
May 6, 2014—Typhoon Haiyan mercilessly battered the Philippines in November 2013, leaving thousands of people dead, hundreds of thousands homeless, and a once verdant landscape drained of color and growth. Six months later, as the land turns green again, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working with survivors to cultivate hope and rebuild homes and lives.
UMCOR was among the first agencies to respond with emergency aid to survivors. Then, in detailed consultation with survivors, UMCOR began to focus recovery efforts on reconstruction. It would build fresh homes on the very sites—whenever possible and safe—where survivors had lived before their houses were destroyed or severely damaged by the storm.
Calogcog, a devastated community of the town of Tanauan in hard-hit Leyte Province, emerged as the heart of an innovative UMCOR project. Instead of erecting increasingly sturdy forms of transitional housing for survivors, the project will build permanent new homes at once, a less conventional procedure.