27 November, 2013 - CBM Australia
Our convoy of three Jeepneys loaded to the rafters with CBM relief goods had just made its journey from Iloilo to the Municipal Center in Concepcion, Panay Island.
With support of the local administration, the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, CBM’s project partner volunteers had set up a large number of chairs in the covered public gym, that was waiting to be filled.
Local police and army showed their presence, as volunteers began unloading the precious cargo and a human chain moved bags from the trucks into place.
ADPI, the local administration and CBM staff and volunteers were busy going through checklists, ticking off names, issuing vouchers, recounting bags and making sure everything was ready for the distribution.
From the outset this was going to be a very well organised event.
In the days prior, CBM’s project partner together with the local authorities had gone from house to house, speaking to people with a disability, informing them of the distribution and handing out voucher-tickets, which confirmed their eligibility to receive the goods on the day. This way, we not only made sure that no one was left behind, but this approach also created a record for future follow-up.
The gym filled steadily and around 500 people took their seats. With a formal welcome from the Municipal administrator, an introduction of CBM, and a round of applause, the distribution was on it’s way.
Megaphone in hand, people were organised into groups of 50 or so. Waiting patiently for their turn, each person stepped forward exchanging their vouchers for supplies. For those who were not able to carry the big bag of food and non-food items – containing, rice, salt, sugar, coffee, soap, tooth brushes, tarps and much more – volunteers rushed to assist.
As the distribution continued, the atmosphere began to change. I was moved witnessing how the faces of people who had gone through so much hardship now lit up. There were laughs, there were conversations, there was waving and smiling and people expressing their thankfulness.
It’s fair to say that the distribution was a great success.
Despite the surrounding setting of destruction and loss caused by Typhoon Haiyan, today beautifully illustrated to me once again, the value of an inclusive society for all.
Read more about the CBM response to typhoon Haiyan