The village of Banaba, in San Mateo, is a survivor of the recent floods because the people have become empowered and assist each other. They banded together and have a community-based disaster management program. Banaba, Philippines. 14/08/2010
It will be a year since Typhoon Ketsana devastated Manila,Philippines on September 26, 2009.The mighty floods put many villages underwater. The village of Banaba sits between two rivers in a place about forty minutes from the center of Manila,Philippines. A people's organization called Buklod Tao (United People) decided that they will no longer be helpless during the monsoon season. They banded together and have a community-based disaster management program that teaches the community how to rescue themselves in case of emergency situations. They have also built fiberglass boats using local technology and manpower so that the community can use these rescue vehicles. Belen de Guzman, an active member of Buklod Tao, has been designated the chief monitor. She lives near the Nangka river and has been provided a headlamp and raincoat as well as a bullhorn so that she can tell the other monitors in the nearby villages that the river has swollen to a certain degree and that people must evacuate. Besides their active participation, members of the organization have also started livelihood projects that make use of discarded juice tetrapacks (packaging) that are sewn into "pots" that are used for their urban gardening program. Community members gather these waste materials from funeral parlors, the river beds, streets, and garbage dumps and sell them to Buklod Tao. They have also lent out small loans to affected families.Even if they had been affected by Typhoon Ketsana last year, they have managed to overcome the devastation and start anew. In a large way, Buklod Tao's efforts have empowered their community through several self-sustaining programs that they themselves have decided on. It is a growing organization that has inspired nearby villages.