USAID turns over water facilities to storm-hit Leyte schools

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The United States Agency for International Development has turned over storm-resistant water infrastructure facilities to two schools in Palo town in Leyte province as part of its “Be Secure Project” after the 2013 Super Typhoon “Yolanda.”

“Access to clean and adequate water is critical…we continue to work to better prepare from natural disasters,” said Dani Newcomb, division director, environment office of USAID Philippines.

Joining Newcomb during the ceremony was USAID-Be Secure Project deputy chief of party Lisa Pagkalinawan.

Engineer Ariel Lapus, water service team leader of the project, said Palo National High School and Palo I Central Elementary School along with eight others are among those identified and selected by USAID-Be Secure Project to build back better.

These schools in Leyte are Tanauan National High School, Dulag National High School, Dulag Elementary School, Granja-Kalinawan National High School, Cassidy Elementary School, Alang-alang National High School, Burauen National High School and Leyte Provincial Hospital.

“USAID provided cistern to store potable water coming from the source, pump and elevated tank to generate pressure. A whole generation of piping system to supply water system to all washing areas and classrooms,” said Lapus.

Cisterns and elevated tanks turned over to Palo National High School with its 2,500 students and Palo Elementary School with its around 2,000 students can provide 20 liters and 15 liters of water per day for each student, respectively.

The water facility can withstand 300-kilometer per hour wind, Lapus said.

“USAID also trained utility personnel on water demand management to use the facilities wisely. In addition, the water system of other schools and health clinics across Leyte province are also being rehabilitated right now,” he added.

Aside from constructing water facilities, USAID has also continued building classrooms in the Yolanda-affected areas in the province.

Palo students and Leyte school officials led by Palo I district supervisor Philip Teraza, Palo Central Elementary School principal Melfi Grace Sanchez, Leyte division senior education program specialist Marie Joy Arias, Leyte division project development officer Karen Barril, and Palo National High School department head Fidelino Josol thanked USAID for the donation.

“Words would not be enough to express our profound gratitude. Personally, when Yolanda struck my first impression was that the big disaster would cost a very long time for recovery. I thought it’s a wrath from God.

“But what struck us here in Palo was a result of a confluence of events.  The world learned that there is Palo, they heard us, and they came to help. When Yolanda came, you also came. We thank the American people for their generosity,” said Josol.

Updated version. Originally appeared in The Standard

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