When we arrived to the village in Chinat Province, the community was receiving first-aid training and how to drive boats in flooding circumstances through the Disaster Risk Reduction program. This community was supported by WVI when the floods hit with survival kits and child-friendly spaces. At the first-aid training, the instructor made sure to emphasize the importance of rescuing the lives of neighbors in addition to family while demonstrating how to do CPR and carrying an injured victim on a stretcher. After, the staff and I observed the boat driving training, and we even were able to participate. The community has never been educated on prevention activities in case of disaster until WVI and the local government teamed up to implement these trainings. Yajai from WVI explained, this program exists because we would like to educate citizens to help themselves and neighbors when other relief can’t be here immediately. Before, the village depended only on the head and leaders to make decisions, but now everyone is trained to help.
Meeting with families who received support from World Vision International, they explained that the floods happen every year but last year was the worst ever. This flood forced a family that has 3 children to move to the main road to live in a tent for 3 months. The mother said the house was flooded to the knee. During the flooding she volunteered to cook for other villages. Now she and her family have been able to return home with government support. I asked if she was worried about the flooding happening again, and she said no because she has to accept what comes. At the DRR training, she was learning first-aid and “how to help in the right way when a disaster or emergency happens,” the mother shared.
Next we visited a school that had 250 students from kindergarten to 9th grade. A director and teacher shared that for 3 months the school had to shut down. Some families lived on the street. The community was devastated because it is a town of farmers, and the main road was destroyed so there was not any transport making it hard to leave and receive emergency supplies. Here WVI fixed the playground, landscape, cement, and provided books, 2 computers, sports equipment, and school supplies. Again the issue was reiterated that although it floods every year, it has never flooded like that before so no one was completely prepared. We sat with some students, and I asked them in their words what happened. The girls all jumped in adding on to each other that every year it floods to their knees but last year it went up to the roof of their homes. They moved to the main road and lived there for 3 months. Many of the girls became depressed hoping the water would recede quickly. They had to miss school and did not have anything with them – when the waters rose it happened so fast they had to leave almost everything behind. What did they miss most? Their books, one girl answered. The rest nodded agreeing. I asked if they were worried about the floods continuing to be this bad, and they said no – because they “believe in the good, that the good will happen.”
Finally we visited families that received livelihoods support from WVI after the flood waters receded. Working through the village leader, WVI selected the poorest families and supported the purchase of new income generating activities, for example: chicks and chickens, mushroom growing, or catfish farms.
I want to thank WVI staff on their hospitality and taking me along to experience and report on the impact GlobalGiving donors had on flood and emergency relief.
GlobalGiving InTheField Representative | Texas
Jacqueline is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving and is now making her way across Southeast Asia. Jacqueline has lived all around the U.S., Central America, backpacked along Australia’s eastern coast while volunteering for the National Park Service, western Europe, and traveled around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter.
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