United Youth of the Philippines-Women, Inc (UnYPhil-Women) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) collaborated with different line agencies, local government units, and other organizations in delivering assistance to the victims of Typhoon Bopha (local name Pablo) in Mindanao. Communities in the municipalities of Monkayo and Montevista in Compostela Valley; Cateel and Baganga in Davao Oriental; and Lingig in Surigao del Sur were reached by UnYPhil-women staff to distribute assorted non-food items that may help in rebuilding the communities.

Fragments of damaged houses of Moro families at Islamic Center, City of Mati

Fragments of damaged houses of Moro families at Islamic Center, City of Mati


The conflict-affected communities in Brgy. Camantangan in Montevista; and Brgy. Rizal, Brgy. Pasian, and Brgy. Baylo in Monkayo were also greatly devastated during the strongest typhoon to hit Mindanao. 522 families from these barangays were provided with shovels, garden hoes, pails, jerry cans, plastic sheets or rolls, blankets, ropes, and kitchen sets. The devastation that hit Compostela Valley province can be seen even just after leaving Tagum City and upon entering the municipality of Mawab when passing through the Agusan-Davao National Highway. Whole communities can be seen totally wrecked by the strong winds that hit the area. Coconut trees, bananas, oil palms and other agricultural products can be seen either uprooted or totally inclined to the direction of the typhoon. Children and adults have their arms outstretched to plea for any form of assistance from the passing vehicles along the highway.

The remote barangays  of Montevista and Monkayo were also visited by UnYPhil-Women and UNHCR to assess their current situation and distribute relief items. Barangay Dalaguit in the municipality of Montevista has 214 families, or a total of 2,070 individuals, affected by the typhoon. 95% of houses are totally damaged and the remaining 5% are partially damaged. The lack of potable water is now taking its toll on the community with reported cases of individuals suffering from Diarrhea. Barangay Casoon in the municipality of Monkayo has 1,460 families, or a total 7,300 individuals, affected by the typhoon. 70% of houses were totally damaged and 30% are partially damaged. Classes in these remote areas are still suspended and expected to resume by next year. These communities are still dependent on food reliefs provided by different agencies.


The municipalities of Cateel and Baganga in Davao Oriental are two of the hardest hit municipalities in Mindanao. In Cateel, 95% of the houses are totally damaged and the remaining 5% partially damaged. Infrastructures in these areas are also greatly devastated making it harder to deliver relief items. Assistance for Cateel had to be delivered through the Lingig Road and assistance for Baganga had to be delivered through sea vessels. Looting is now prevalent in the area because of the shortage of food supplies. Elders and children are suffering from flu and diarrhea, and aggravating this situation is the lack of a medical facility that can accommodate the patients and provide a comprehensive medical service. Classes are still suspended and are expected to resume by January next year. Temporary shelters are fully packed with evacuees, and the number of evacuation centers cannot accommodate all the affected families.

UnYPhil-Women and UNHCR delivered shelter items for these municipalities. However, their enduring needs, like the rebuilding of their homes and of their livelihoods, still greatly concern the communities. Psychosocial interventions should also be provided to the affected individuals as they are greatly distressed and traumatized by the recent disaster.

Baogo Bridge in Baganga that collapsed

Baogo Bridge in Baganga that collapsed


The coastal barangays of Palo-alto, Mansailao, and San Roque in the municipality of Lingig were also devastated by the strong winds and surging currents during the typhoon. One can just imagine the beauty of Barangay Palo-alto prior to Typhoon Bopha, with its white sands, blue waters, and remarkable islands. But now, all that is left are debris on the once thriving fishing community of Palo-alto. Families transferred to higher grounds and built makeshift shelters, while some are currently staying to other relatives.

UnYPhil-Women, UNHCR, and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) delivered relief items to some 300 families from this barangay. But the most remarkable stories are that of the staffs of the Local Government Unit of Lingig that are relentlessly providing service to the devastated families, even if their own homes are yet unattended. They prioritized assisting their neighbors and other families in spite of their own families having no secure shelter after the typhoon. And as all other typhoon-devastated communities, what concerns most the people of the mentioned three (3) barangays is the rebuilding of their livelihood. The question that lingers in the mind of Lingig Municipal Doctor is “what will happen in January 2013?”

But it seems that really is the question of all concerned right now. When all relief missions have subsided, what are the ways forward for these communities?

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