Chainsaw Gangs of the Philippines

Chainsaw Gangs of the Philippines

ARTICLE: THIS APPEARED IN THE REDR AUSTRALIA NEWSLETTER

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After Typhoon Haiyan obliterated close to two million coconut palms in Eastern Samar Province, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) predicted only six months before the timber would become unsalvageable. In this time ‘Chainsaw Gangs’ were quickly formed to cut and process the wood before it rotted, to prevent not only waste but also the potential pest infestation of newly planted seedlings.

Salvaging the timber was vital to the humanitarian response in the Philippines, as much of the wood was utilised in building shelters for the communities displaced by Typhoon Haiyan. Albert Spiteri, a RedR Australia engineer and shelter expert was deployed to assist the International Organisation for Migration. He oversaw not only shelter construction activities but also the humanitarian effort in improving disaster risk reduction and community preparedness.

During this time, RedR Australia collaborated with our UK and India counterparts to help provide further essential shelter and disaster risk reduction management training to those based in the Philippines. This involved staff from Save the Children, as well as many other humanitarian partners working in the area. The training educated participants on how to “build back better”, utilising the best practices of shelter construction, including information such as effective layout design, proper drainage and what local materials were available. This unified RedR team analysed the strengths and weaknesses in the local response capacity and helped determine the need for further training.

Beyond this, RedR Australia continued joint development work with RedR UK and India by delivering humanitarian training to NGOs, clusters and local government units in the Philippines. Through partnerships between RedR trainers, fellow aid organisations and local communities, we’ve been able to provide training courses ranging from ‘The Humanitarian System’, ‘Accountability and Standards’, ‘Disaster Risk Reduction in Shelter and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)’ and ‘Engagement with Communities’.

RedR teamed up with Save the Children to deliver 14 courses to over 330 participants on Humanitarian Practice in four locations around the Philippines to their local staff members. The goal was for these participants to go on to become the next generation of emergency responders in the Philippines humanitarian community.

Alongside these training services which prepare the local community for the future, we also provide vital assistance in the ongoing relief effort. Since Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, RedR Australia has deployed 24 Standby Register experts and five RedR associate trainers to support our agency partners IOM, UNICEF, WHO, WFP, DFID and OCHA.

 

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