Community unites to mitigate flooding

The teaching staff of the local elementary school and barangay officials of a community in Leyte joined forces to prevent the top environmental hazard in their community: floods.


“Planting trees during summer vacation has never been a bother to us. When I first heard about this tree planting activity, I felt great relief. We never hesitated to give our full participation because this is the answer to our long time agony on floods,” Rizalyn Avila, one of the school teachers at Alangalang said.


The teaching staff of the local elementary school and barangay officials of Barangay Salvacion, Alangalang joined forces to prevent the top environmental hazard in their community: flood. Through the help of World Vision, they received 300 seedlings that they can plant around their community.


“The seedlings will eventually serve as barricades in case the river overflows. These are also good addition to the previously planted vetiver, a kind of grass with roots that burrows five meters to the ground. It is usually used to help mitigate the impact of erosion and flooding in communities,” shares Alicia Gosol, Brgy. Chairman.


Alicia’s commitment to the project dates back to 2014. Typhoon Seniang (international name Jangmi) has wrecked their homes through a massive flood. Many of them, especially children, got sick.


“We did not evacuate during the typhoon. We preferred to stay home and secure our things and our children in an elevated area by stacking chairs and tables. We didn’t sleep the whole night. Usually the flood lasts overnight but that typhoon was worse,” she shared.


A lot of children had diarrhea after the flood. Meanwhile, adults suffered from rheumatism after being soaked in floodwater for a long time.



It was easier to mobilise people for disaster preparedness activities since then. Aside from the barangay officials and teachers, the community members were very much interested to help in the tree planting activity. Recognizing its benefits to everyone, it became a local bayanihan for the whole community.


“My students were very excited when they heard that we will be receiving seedlings. They kept asking when we are going to start. However, since it has reached summer vacation, they weren’t able to join,” teacher Rizalyn expressed. Now that summer is over and classes have officially resumed, Rizalyn is excited how the children will take care of the plants.


World Vision continues to work with 10 more flood-prone barangays in East Leyte. Several disaster risk reduction initiatives were conducted to help communities mitigate risks of future disasters and to prepare them for the rainy season.—Jennina Lanza, World Vision/August 9, 2016



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