On the morning of 3rd September a fire ripped through and destroyed the stilt village of the Badjao community on the Philippine Island of Palawan. Our friends at the Father’s Refuge (Kanlungan ng Ama) have been working with these people for many years. The centre they built for their outreach work was also destroyed in the fire.
Still homeless, the people are now living in a makeshift village of tents and gazebos until their relocation site is ready. Local government is providing food, tents and a few toilets for them and a few other organizations have given aid as well. As a result of donated funds, including those from Community Church, the team from The Father’s Refuge were able to distribute relief goods directly to the Badjao people; that’s 345 families totalling about 1500 people. They have been able to distribute items to every family, including personal hygiene kits, clothes, cooking stoves, thermos flasks and tools to help rebuilding.
A relocation site has been given to the Badjao community by the government. Each family is given their own 6×8 metre plot to build their house on. This new area is next to a mangrove, and the whole site is on mudflats which are flooded by sea water at high tide. The new village will have to be built up on stilts above the mud like the old one. There is some distance from the sea making it safe from storm surges, but their boats should still be able to get close at high tide.
Included in the relocation site is a plot for a new education and community centre – an onsite facility for the team from The Father’s Refuge. The team got to pick the exact spot for themselves – they look pleased with their decision!
You can find out more about the work of the Father’s Refuge here: www.palawanrescue.org
Author: Trevor Shotter