From Response to Development: WASH Assistance in Leyte

On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the central Philippines, bringing strong winds and heavy rains that resulted in flooding, landslides and widespread damage. More than 16 million people were left without access to essential services such as electricity, healthcare, sanitation facilities and clean water.

Relief International delivered immediate aid across nine municipalities in Leyte province in the aftermath of the storm, known locally as Typhoon Yolanda. The typhoon devastated Leyte, leaving most of its 1.6 million residents without functioning toilets and potable water and at risk of disease.

With support from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), RI trained communities on hand washing and good hygiene practices, and provided essential items such as soap, hygiene kits, and temporary toilets.  RI staff also offered emergency medical care.  The project reached more than 90,000 women, men and children in 90 communities. 

A year after Haiyan struck, RI continued training local government and community members in hygiene practices. With many families’ toilets still in disrepair, nearly 60 percent of families were forced to continue relieving themselves outside. RI worked with 570 vulnerable households to build durable latrines and distributed 200 conditional cash grants for local improvements. By the end of 2015, the project achieved Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) in 90 percent of target communities.

In 2016, Relief International  will support four municipal governments in water and sanitation planning, budgeting and service provision. RI experts in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) will support government staff in developing health and sanitation infrastructure that fosters better community health. Providing this support ensures that community-led efforts are successful even after programs end. This approach:

  • Trains government officials in planning and in building civic skills.
  • Encourages integration of WASH into local government priorities.
  • Trains government and school staff in WASH approaches.
  • Trains communities and local government in innovative and low-cost solutions to toilets and hand washing facilities.

Additional funding from Diakonie Katastrophenilfe (DKH) allowed for the expansion of this project to address 3,000 vulnerable people’s need for latrines and hand washing facilities. With DKH funding, communities built 600 typhoon-resistant latrines and nine school water points.