Building hope

It’s been less than two years since Typhoon Haiyan, one of the deadliest typhoons ever recorded, slammed into Leyte province in the Philippines. More than four million people were displaced, and over 6,000 people lost their lives. Now in the rebuilding process, we spoke to some of the families benefitting from World Vision's help in a place where homes that withstand future disasters is a huge priority.

“If I hadn't qualified for the shelter package with tools and construction assistance, I would have had to rebuild our house on my own, from whatever meagre resources were available,” says mother-of-two Norma, smiling up at the house they rebuilt last October.

If there is one thing that makes Norma’s 11-year-old son Eric proud, it was how - despite not being a carpenter or professional - his mother rebuilt their house largely on her own, with just a bit of help from World Vision.

“I was mama's assistant. Her head was hit by a falling coconut tree during the typhoon and she used to have headaches after that but it didn’t stop her. She wanted us to have a home.”

Reynante is another of World Vision’s beneficiaries. Along with tools and materials, he also attended the 'Build-Back-Better' workshop which taught communities how to make their new homes disaster-resistant. Reynante lost his house last year and only rebuilt it last July.

“I’m glad we’re all safe and my house is still here. The lessons from the Build-Back-Better workshop worked. One lesson I can’t forget is to properly space roofing nails. I am thankful I went there and listened,” he smiles.

Reynante adds that aside from securing his house, he also learned to be more attentive to weather alerts. Preparedness, according to him, is something that he's had to learn the hard way. No sooner had people celebrated the one year anniversary of Haiyan and the rebuilding that had taken place, than the Philippines was once again in the path of a large typhoon this past December.

“We have just started to get on with our lives. I don’t really understand why we had to go through another typhoon but I am thankful we are all safe now and our house is still here,” says Reynante.

Jose Caile, Infrastructure Manager is delighted to hear the feedback from workshop attendees like Reynante.

“It is good to hear that our efforts are paying off, but more importantly, we’re happy to know that people are safe. Proper sizing, spacing and anchorage of the roof frame to the entire structure are important things to remember when building houses,” he explains. World Vision was able to extend the building workshop to 13,000 people across its response areas.

“Our shelter has a wooden post resting on a concrete pedestal column and they are bolted together. This allows the house to withstand lateral forces such as strong winds and earthquakes. The flooring is also slightly elevated to keep it safe from floods,” explains Roberto Pamintuan, Haiyan Response Reconstruction Manager.

World Vision reached more than one million people in the immediate aftermath and recovery phases of Typhoon Haiyan. In West Leyte, communities were provided with GIS software and GPS as part of Disaster Risk Reduction support, along with assisted reconstruction work reaching at least 7,000 people. Ahead of the Paris Climate Conference this December, World Vision asks that member states put the future of our children first and commit to financing adaptation projects like these and ensuring that carbon emissions are reduced significantly. Without this commitment to justice, we will see an increase in child poverty. Please contact Maggie Ibrahim (, our Resilience Manager, if you want to learn more about our risk reduction and climate change adaptation work.

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