January 8, 2015 — 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.
Since late 2013, when Haiyan made landfall, OpUSA staff members have visited the Philippines on numerous occasions, and have come to sincerely care for the wonderful community of Guiuan and its residents. OpUSA program director, Susan, has worked closely with community members to facilitate the distribution of relief supplies and manage ongoing recovery projects.
In continued partnership with Honeywell, OpUSA’s main project in the area has been the reconstruction of the Ngolos Elementary School which serves approximately 250 students in kindergarten through 6th grade. The campus includes eight classrooms, a playground and a basketball court. Partners including Stella Abrera’s “Steps Forward for the Philippines” and We-Care.com have very generously supported the purchase of equipment and supplies for the new school facilities.
Just one year after Haiyan caused widespread damage and destruction, in December 2014, 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, the Honeywell Ngolos Elementary School is set to officially open early in 2015.
See more photos of school construction and Ngolos students here.
Donate to Operation USA’s ongoing relief and recovery programs around the world here.