Zonta Club of Cebu II responds to natural disaster on Olango Island

The Zonta Club of Cebu II, the Philippines, responded to a call for assistance after the destructive Typhoon Odette.

On 16 December, the typhoon raged through the central region of the Philippines, causing decimation to the majority of Cebu City, especially to Mactan and Olanga Island. Olango Island is a small coral reef island with a population of 30,000 whose primary source of livelihood is fishing and tourism. The typhoon caused massive infrastructure damage to homes, government buildings, power lines and the port. The saltwater intrusion and shortage of freshwater caused the displacement of people and the loss of livelihood options.

The island is a 30-minute boat ride from Mactan, and it has been a beneficiary of the club's Alimbukad Family Early Literacy Reading Program for more than eight years now. Club members would cross the channel quarterly to mentor and capacitate the local parents to engage in literacy activities with their children.

Sadly, the club received dire reports from Olango Island's mayor, where the recent typhoon destroyed almost all the homes and establishments. More than 150 of the Alimbukad families and the 24 teachers from its program lost their homes and possessions. Along with 20,000 other residents, they are now in an evacuation center. 

To aid the community, the club brought over essential supplies such as 2,200 liters of distilled water, 1,100 kilos of rice, 880 canned goods and 2,650 packs of coffee. On their second visit, they provided 2,000 pieces of galvanized iron corrugated sheets, nails, screws and other roofing materials to help residents rebuild their homes.