ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting Asia

Typhoon Haiyan Relief work Medellin, Cebu Philippines

Updated on June 10, 2014

Survey of the Damage to Curva Elementary School and Medellin, Cebu Philippines

The Philippines is no stranger to typhoons and strong tropical storms, however, Super Typhoon Haifan (Yolanda in Philippines) was something which exceeded even the wildest imagination. The Super Typhoon slammed ashore early in the morning of November 8, 2013 packing winds in excess of 315 km/hr. These extreme winds along with strong storm surges caused significant loss of life and paths of destruction across the Philippines. By now, I am confident that many people have heard about the typhoon on the news and many you might have heard or watched advertisements from the Red Cross or other charity organizations seeking donations for relief.

My lense was created to reflect the experiences that I encountered first hand living and working here in the Philippines during the storm of the century. The weather channel and discovery have labeled this the strongest storm to ever hit land. I plan to show you some pictures of the devastation and some of our relief efforts and why we are working so hard to get more done.

You are probably wondering where is Medellin, Cebu and why would we focus our efforts on this city? Medellin, Cebu is a small town of about 50,000 people located on the very northern tip of Cebu, Philippines.

Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda in Philippines)

Here are three videos to appreciate the size and strength of the storm.. The second video presents an interesting what if view if this storm were to have hit the US vs the Philippines.

Imagine what happens if this super storm hit the States??? WOW.

Medellin, Cebu Philippines
Medellin, Cebu Philippines

Where is Medellin, Cebu?

Visayas, Philippines

Medellin, is a small town of approximately 50,000 people located on the northern tip of the island of Cebu. The municipality of Medellin is one of the nine municipalities comprising the 4th Congressional District of Cebu Province. It is approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi) north from Cebu City via Barangay Curva and 113 kilometres (70 mi) via barangay Luy-a. The town is bounded on the north by the municipality of DaanBantayan; on the south by the municipality of San Remigio and city of Bogo; on the east by the Camotes Sea and on the west by the Tañon Strait.

It is about a 3 hour drive from Cebu City despite being only about 75 miles distance.

We specifically targeted working with Medellin, Cebu because all of the international attention and relief efforts have been focused on the City of Tacloban. This small town has been largely ignored by the media and relief agencies. The damage to the city was extreme with a reported 95% of all homes severely damaged or destroyed by the Typhoon.

I work for a call center company with an office in Cebu and we decided it was time to make a difference in a place where we could matter.

Medellin, Cebu Philippines after Typhoon Haifan (Yolanda) - Pictures of the destruction, Curva Elementary School and surrounding area

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Curva Elementary school.  This school used to house more than 400 students a day.Two students of Curva Elementary school who we met on first inspectionWhat remains of the school stage and kindergarten classroom.Grade 1 classroom.  as you can see, it collapsed like a house of cards.More damaged classrooms.Surveying the damage to Curva Elementary schoolAt least the restroom survived the Super Typhoon!Remaining piece of the principal's office and grade 2&3 classroom.The high school building at Curva Elementary.sleeping student who lost his home in the typhoon.This is what is left of the kindergartner and first grade classrooms. Curva Elementary school3rd and 4th grade classrooms, Curva ElementaryHousing and high schoolLooking across the school grounds towards 5th and 6th grade classrooms.More damaged buildingsMore damaged buildings at Curva Elementarydestroyed facilityCollapsed roomRemaining frame from class facade.collapsed classroomsdamaged schoolTeacher describing what used to be her classroom.
Curva Elementary school.  This school used to house more than 400 students a day.
Curva Elementary school. This school used to house more than 400 students a day.
Two students of Curva Elementary school who we met on first inspection
Two students of Curva Elementary school who we met on first inspection
What remains of the school stage and kindergarten classroom.
What remains of the school stage and kindergarten classroom.
Grade 1 classroom.  as you can see, it collapsed like a house of cards.
Grade 1 classroom. as you can see, it collapsed like a house of cards.
More damaged classrooms.
More damaged classrooms.
Surveying the damage to Curva Elementary school
Surveying the damage to Curva Elementary school
At least the restroom survived the Super Typhoon!
At least the restroom survived the Super Typhoon!
Remaining piece of the principal's office and grade 2&3 classroom.
Remaining piece of the principal's office and grade 2&3 classroom.
The high school building at Curva Elementary.
The high school building at Curva Elementary.
sleeping student who lost his home in the typhoon.
sleeping student who lost his home in the typhoon.
This is what is left of the kindergartner and first grade classrooms. Curva Elementary school
This is what is left of the kindergartner and first grade classrooms. Curva Elementary school
3rd and 4th grade classrooms, Curva Elementary
3rd and 4th grade classrooms, Curva Elementary
Housing and high school
Housing and high school
Looking across the school grounds towards 5th and 6th grade classrooms.
Looking across the school grounds towards 5th and 6th grade classrooms.
More damaged buildings
More damaged buildings
More damaged buildings at Curva Elementary
More damaged buildings at Curva Elementary
destroyed facility
destroyed facility
Collapsed room
Collapsed room
Remaining frame from class facade.
Remaining frame from class facade.
collapsed classrooms
collapsed classrooms
damaged school
damaged school
Teacher describing what used to be her classroom.
Teacher describing what used to be her classroom.

Phase 1: Emergency Relief Shelters

Giving Shelter from driving rains and baking sun!! More than 300 families helped!

One of the most urgent needs following the super typhoon was shelter. Water and food aid were being distributed by helicopter and trucks but people had no were to escape the driving rains and baking sun. The temperature during the heat of the day was often in the high 90's with almost 100% humidity. Imagine not being able to get out from under the baking tropical sun for days at a time. In addition to the elements, mosquitoes were rampant and were having a buffet feasting on the survivors of the storm who had no place to go to escape them. People were using whatever they could find to try to patch together shelter, often this was just grass pulled from the fields.

I was very proud of my employees for pulling together to raise funds for immediate relief. Through employee donations and sacrifices, we were able to raise about 840,000 Php (about $19,500) to buy shelter materials for the town. We were able to create and deliver 310 kits featuring 4mx7m tarps, hammers, nails, duct tape, mosquito nets, and food, water, clothes and sanitary supplies.

This truly was all about being a team and making sacrifices to help those who could not help themselves. We met with the Town Mayor and Vice Mayor and were assigned a barangay (neighborhood) to distribute relief goods to. With a lot of luck and hard work, we were able to ensure all families in the brgy had shelter when we left. This actually totals more than 2700 people. Not bad for a small company outreach effort.

Phase 1 relief efforts, Medellin, Cebu - Shelter kits, food supplies, water and volunteers!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here is the shipping container we were able to fill with shelter kits and food relief aid from our employees and donations.Sanitary supplies were in short supply so high on the list for delivery.loading the relief itemsanother delivery truck with more shelters to load in container.Team work, the shelters were pretty heavy. 4mx7m with 13mm thickness.Team effort, I was happy to jump in and lend a hand loading.Work in progress loading the container.Still loading the container.Time for a break while waiting on next truck to arrive.Making progress!half way loaded container nowUnloading the shelters at the impacted barangay (neighborhood)2nd truck full of shelter on the way to the barangay for delivery.hand making each shelter kit with pride and team work.food relief goods.breaking the boxes of food into family serving bags for each shelter.Relief effort at Curva Elementary. We distributed food, clothes and mosquito nets at the school!emergency food distributionassembling the shelter kitsteam work assembling the kitsEven when tired, still time for a smile to make the work go faster.Meeting with Medellin, Cebu Mayor Ricardo Ramirez to coordinate relief out reach.
Here is the shipping container we were able to fill with shelter kits and food relief aid from our employees and donations.
Here is the shipping container we were able to fill with shelter kits and food relief aid from our employees and donations.
Sanitary supplies were in short supply so high on the list for delivery.
Sanitary supplies were in short supply so high on the list for delivery.
loading the relief items
loading the relief items
another delivery truck with more shelters to load in container.
another delivery truck with more shelters to load in container.
Team work, the shelters were pretty heavy. 4mx7m with 13mm thickness.
Team work, the shelters were pretty heavy. 4mx7m with 13mm thickness.
Team effort, I was happy to jump in and lend a hand loading.
Team effort, I was happy to jump in and lend a hand loading.
Work in progress loading the container.
Work in progress loading the container.
Still loading the container.
Still loading the container.
Time for a break while waiting on next truck to arrive.
Time for a break while waiting on next truck to arrive.
Making progress!
Making progress!
half way loaded container now
half way loaded container now
Unloading the shelters at the impacted barangay (neighborhood)
Unloading the shelters at the impacted barangay (neighborhood)
2nd truck full of shelter on the way to the barangay for delivery.
2nd truck full of shelter on the way to the barangay for delivery.
hand making each shelter kit with pride and team work.
hand making each shelter kit with pride and team work.
food relief goods.
food relief goods.
breaking the boxes of food into family serving bags for each shelter.
breaking the boxes of food into family serving bags for each shelter.
Relief effort at Curva Elementary. We distributed food, clothes and mosquito nets at the school!
Relief effort at Curva Elementary. We distributed food, clothes and mosquito nets at the school!
emergency food distribution
emergency food distribution
assembling the shelter kits
assembling the shelter kits
team work assembling the kits
team work assembling the kits
Even when tired, still time for a smile to make the work go faster.
Even when tired, still time for a smile to make the work go faster.
Meeting with Medellin, Cebu Mayor Ricardo Ramirez to coordinate relief out reach.
Meeting with Medellin, Cebu Mayor Ricardo Ramirez to coordinate relief out reach.

Raising the Morale of the children of Curva Elementary, Medellin, Cebu

Helping to give a break from the trauma to the children!

After our initial inspection, we were very aware of the scope of damage and trauma the super typhoon had on the people of Medellin. The children took the brunt of the trauma and were definitely feeling the stress following the storm and from seeing their homes and school destroyed.

Recognizing that one of the early intervention steps that can help children transition through trauma is to give them a mini vacation from the destruction, we organized a quick trip back up just to give the kids some drinks and snacks and a sense of hope that things will get better.

The children really were very happy and surprised as many had never before had a chance to taste simple things like koolaide or tang, and definitely enjoyed the experience as well as their packets of cookies. Many kids saved the cookies to take home and share with their families. It was a very touching day for my team as well as the students and teachers of Curva elementary.

This trip cemented our resolve to rebuild this school to be better than it was prior to the storm!!

Raising the morale of the Student at Curva Elementary, Medellin, Cebu - Hope and a snack go a long way to making the kids smile and laugh again!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is the reason we are working so hard to get this school rebuilt!!!Sharing cookies and juice with students at Curva Elementary schoolthe line was long and the children were happy!Students from kindergarten to 6th grade lined up for snacks.more cookies!10 gallons of juice went very fast.more treatsThe flags were for counting the number of students. we had them grouped into clusters of 90.more childrenMore happy children, loved the smiles.they were very patient and orderly while waiting for us to mix more juice.more students..:)even more.collage of studentsshe loves the drink, 3rd time in line..
This is the reason we are working so hard to get this school rebuilt!!!
This is the reason we are working so hard to get this school rebuilt!!!
Sharing cookies and juice with students at Curva Elementary school
Sharing cookies and juice with students at Curva Elementary school
the line was long and the children were happy!
the line was long and the children were happy!
Students from kindergarten to 6th grade lined up for snacks.
Students from kindergarten to 6th grade lined up for snacks.
more cookies!
more cookies!
10 gallons of juice went very fast.
10 gallons of juice went very fast.
more treats
more treats
The flags were for counting the number of students. we had them grouped into clusters of 90.
The flags were for counting the number of students. we had them grouped into clusters of 90.
more children
more children
More happy children, loved the smiles.
More happy children, loved the smiles.
they were very patient and orderly while waiting for us to mix more juice.
they were very patient and orderly while waiting for us to mix more juice.
more students..:)
more students..:)
even more.
even more.
collage of students
collage of students
she loves the drink, 3rd time in line..
she loves the drink, 3rd time in line..

Relief Phase 2, The Reconstruction of Curva Elementary School - Work in Progress

Perspective for Rebuilding Curva Elementary School
Perspective for Rebuilding Curva Elementary School

After providing for the immediate relief needs of food, shelter, mosquito nets and some water, we decided that we really wanted to help the children of Curva Elementary School. We met with the Principal and teachers of the school and listened to their passion. We met with the students and could really feel their desire to learn and hope to get back to normal life as soon as possible.

After we returned to Manila to regroup, we started to raise funds from our coworkers, friends, family and clients around the world. The cost to rebuild the 9 destroyed building at Curva Elementary School will cost approximately 10 Million Philippine Pesos, this equates to roughly $230,000 usd. Our fundraising internal to our company was able to raise an additional 2.5 million pesos on top of the 840,000 pesos we raised for phase 1 relief efforts. Our employees donated more than 1500 days of vacation and sick leaves to be converted to cash to help fund the rebuilding efforts.

We were able to form a partnership with two other organizations that will contribute the remainder of the required funds to complete the construction. We are currently in the process of obtaining all the permits required to start construction and build around the kids attending classes in the smashed rooms before under the sun and shade of tarps.

We will begin full scale construction in March 2014 and I will definitely post pictures for everyone of the new school coming up.

Thank you for taking the time to read this small lens. I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it feels to be able to help some people who had no one to turn to and also to provide hope to children in their worst hours of need. I hope sometime everyone can feel the same I do know.

It is extremely tiring but extremely rewarding as well.

Medellin, Cebu

Curva Elementary and Medellin, Cebu

A markerCurva Elementary School, Medellin, Cebu -
Medellin, Cebu Philippines
get directions

Building the New Curva Elemenary School - At long last, we are almost done!!!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
digging solid foundations from bedrock base..Very strong walls, actually built to withstand typhoon winds this time!Creating 12 classrooms instead of original 7 rooms.walls going up!Strong Concrete... these walls won't crumble in the next storm!First step was to excavate imerock for the foundation and move to opposite side of hill for more shelter from future storms.All walls are actually reinforced with riebar... the correct spec..
digging solid foundations from bedrock base..
digging solid foundations from bedrock base..
Very strong walls, actually built to withstand typhoon winds this time!
Very strong walls, actually built to withstand typhoon winds this time!
Creating 12 classrooms instead of original 7 rooms.
Creating 12 classrooms instead of original 7 rooms.
walls going up!
walls going up!
Strong Concrete... these walls won't crumble in the next storm!
Strong Concrete... these walls won't crumble in the next storm!
First step was to excavate imerock for the foundation and move to opposite side of hill for more shelter from future storms.
First step was to excavate imerock for the foundation and move to opposite side of hill for more shelter from future storms.
All walls are actually reinforced with riebar... the correct spec..
All walls are actually reinforced with riebar... the correct spec..

emergency food supplies suggestions

Here are some items that don't take much space but can save your life if you are ever unfortunate enough to suffer a severe storm and lose your food and water supply!

New Guestbook Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Kevinbe profile image
      Author

      Kevinbe 3 years ago

      @flycatcherrr: Thanks! It feels good to be nearing the finish line.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 3 years ago

      Fantastic to see the reconstruction - well done!

    • Kevinbe profile image
      Author

      Kevinbe 3 years ago

      @peterb6001: Thank you Peter! I will update with construction pics of the school.

    • peterb6001 profile image

      Peter Badham 3 years ago from England

      What a fantastic page! really well done after such a tragedy.

    • Kevinbe profile image
      Author

      Kevinbe 3 years ago

      @smine27: Thank you for the compliment. I can honestly say I believe anyone living here would feel and I hope react the same way and try to help as much as possible. I am excited to get the school built.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      We need more people like you Kevin. Thank you so much for creating this lens.

    • Kevinbe profile image
      Author

      Kevinbe 3 years ago

      @Charito1962: Thank you Charito. we still have more to do to finish but this was nice start.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Hello! I'm from Manila! Thank you for all the help you extended to my countrymen. We are greatly indebted to you!

    • Kevinbe profile image
      Author

      Kevinbe 3 years ago

      DCXVNV2HXBJP

    • Kevinbe profile image
      Author

      Kevinbe 3 years ago

      Follow my blog with Bloglovin

    • Kevinbe profile image
      Author

      Kevinbe 3 years ago

      @takkhisa: Thank you Takkhis, we will do our best to help the people, especially the kids!

    • Kevinbe profile image
      Author

      Kevinbe 3 years ago

      @GrammieOlivia: Thank you for the feedback, yes, the damage is great but so to is the spirit of the people to rebound!

    • Kevinbe profile image
      Author

      Kevinbe 3 years ago

      @Merrci: Thank you Merrci, my team and I are also very excited to get the school construction going. We are working on permits and approvals now..

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 3 years ago

      It is great that you are working for them. They do need help to have a good life again. Good luck!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Bless you for your efforts. I'll look forward to seeing the progress. It must have been a light to the people of the community when you arrived to help them! Thanks for sharing this.

    • Kevinbe profile image
      Author

      Kevinbe 3 years ago

      @lesliesinclair: thanks for the feedback!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      just a tip to delete: some personal title, rather than the module title can elicit more participation.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      Congratulations on undertaking that huge endeavor. I appreciate that you are working to help the children of the smaller area than where the lion's share of proceeds go. I eagerly await your follow-ups once construction begins.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Thank you for this informative lens. The devastation is so great!