More than a year since the harrowing days of super typhoon Odette pounding the island of Siargao, the island province known as a world-class tourist destination for surfers has become busy rebuilding its community.
Siargao bore the full brunt of super typhoon Odette as the storm made its first contact with land in December 2021. The cyclone, internationally known as Typhoon Rai, brought strong winds that toppled trees and flattened houses, and left hundreds of Filipinos dead in its wake.
It is almost always sunny in Siargao, which also made it a fast favorite for surfers and tourists. With a long summer setting in the town, Odette caught locals in surprise as the last strong typhoon that visited Siargao islands came nearly four decades ago, when Nitang (international name: Ike) wrought damage in the surfing town in 1984, according to a report by Mindanews.
For the island province that was barely regaining its footing as a tourist destination since the pandemic, Siargao was forced to take another long pause in their journey due to the devastating impacts of Odette.
Change in protocols
As the island rebuilds from the impacts of Typhoon Odette, Komunidad comes in to equip nine municipalities in the province with tools to recalibrate and re-establish their disaster risk reduction and management command centers. Komunidad is also making sure that they are more prepared in cases of extreme weather.
For the pilot implementation of its Climate-Resilient Siargao Project, the towns of Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, Pilar, San Benito, San Isidro, Santa Monica and Socorro have been chosen. These towns will be given capacity tools and digital solutions that will enable their local governments to manage climate risks, prepare for disasters, and protect their most vulnerable communities.
Komunidad also pushed for the creation of a technical working group (TWG) in the said municipalities. Through these, LGUs have become more involved in the initiative and thereby instill ownership of the project in them and ensure its sustainability.
Members of the TWG of the partner municipalities underwent training where they learned basic meteorology and insights on how to integrate scientific information and concepts into their local practices for improved understanding and application of Komunidad’s decision support tools. They were also trained on using and navigating the Enterprise Web App dashboard that will allow them to maximize its features and functionality.
Following their training, Burgos, Siargao’s Municipal DRRM officers have started applying their knowledge and put up a Facebook page that will allow faster dissemination of disaster preparedness information.
A second training session has been set in July and August where TWG members of the towns will be able to access mobile app, public web app, automated reports and SMS alerts.
Through recalibrated disaster protocols, Komunidad hopes that their Client-Resilient Siargao Project can help the towns in boosting their eco-tourism and agriculture sector.
Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte Mayor Alfredo M. Coro II has regained confidence in their town’s rebuilding post-Odette. He said: “Komunidad’s program enhances our ability to recover faster than expected and beyond expectation.”
The world is racing against time in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change, but more vulnerable countries like the Philippines will need to step up more to protect our citizens. Komunidad hopes to instill in every LGU that early warnings for all can help save lives and minimize destruction.
“Komunidad’s program enhances our ability to recover faster than expected and beyond expectation.”– Mayor Alfredo M. Coro II, Municipality of Del Carmen, Surigao Del Norte