In November 2013 the largest storm ever to make landfall, Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), devastated the Philippines.
More than 16 million people were impacted by the typhoon, with upwards of 6,200 people killed and 4.1 million people displaced–nearly 1.7 million of which were children. Operation USA responded to the disaster quickly, sending multiple shipments of relief supplies to communities in both Tacloban and Guiuan, two of the hardest hit areas.
Guiuan, a small coastal municipality located at the southeastern tip of Samar where the monster storm first made landfall, was leveled by Haiyan’s strong winds and equally destructive storm surge. Virtually every person, every family, every house and every building in the area were impacted. It was here that Operation USA focused long-term recovery efforts.
In 2014, in continued partnership with Honeywell, Operation USA began reconstruction of the Ngolos Honeywell Elementary School. The newly rebuilt school is comprised of eight classrooms, offices, restrooms, a playground and a basketball court. In addition to construction support from Honeywell, partners including Stella Abrera’s “Steps Forward for the Philippines” and We-Care.com very generously supported the purchase of equipment and supplies for the new school facilities.
In December 2014, just one year after Haiyan caused widespread damage and destruction, another storm, Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby), made landfall in the Philippines. Fortunately, damage from this massive storm was limited in Guiuan, and the school was not significantly impacted. Operation USA recommitted to recovery in the area in the storm’s wake, and despite temporary delays due to rainfall and high winds, construction of the school continued.
In March 2015, Ngolos Honeywell Elementary School officially opened its doors to students in kindergarten through 6th grade.
Today, the school continues to serve more than 250 students. Operation USA remains committed to the recovery of Guiuan. As funding allows, Operation USA will also support enhancements to the school (such as water pumps for clean drinking water) and funding for additional programs (such as a nutritional garden) for the students.