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Thursday, June 19, 2014

At the very least, now we know we can survive, somehow

Resiliency has become a bit of a buzz word these days in various forums as world leaders consider how to prepare for and address the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

Resilience is the ability to spring back into shape after being bent, stretched or compressed; it is the capacity to withstand or recover quickly from challenging conditions.

In the Philippines, we are humbled when we see the personal resiliency of men, women, and families that have survived and lived through months of hardship and challenging circumstances.

Over 7 months ago, Super Typhoon Yolanda (also known as Typhoon Haiyan) hit the Philippines, affecting more the 16 million people. It was the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded history.

HOPE International Development Agency has been working alongside families in communities where no one else was helping; this started with food relief and helping to make emergency repairs on buildings such as schools.

Now, as the focus has shifted to rebuilding infrastructure, life is returning to a 'new normal'. Local staff are helping families create safe shelters, grow nutritious food, including eggplant, okra, tomatoes, peppers, squash, spinach, long beans, and corn.

HOPE International Development Agency is also helping families regain their livelihoods by helping fisherfolk whose boats and nets have been destroyed. This work will continue helping thousands of families take the next step towards regaining their self-reliance.

In the meantime, families have been sharing with local staff what the support provided has meant to them. This statement is simple and hopeful, yet also encapsulates the profound change in perspective regarding fragility, vulnerability, and most of all, a new sense of resiliency in the face of future adversity.

Reynaldo, a 55 year old, from Tacloban says:

“I have lost a family member and now I have felt somehow our life will never be going back to normalcy. But with the help of people like you, it felt good to have some semblance of hope.

At the very least, now we know we can survive, somehow.

Before I die, it is good to know that my family will have a roof on their heads.  We are starting to eat three meals a day again — just like what we had before.”

* HOPE International Development gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development towards the ongoing work in the Philippines.