TACLOBAN CITY- The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster have built at least 22,063 toilets in the Visayas region areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda. WASH Cluster, composed of several humanitarian groups, started transitioning from life-saving intervention to early recovery planning and implementation in December 2013.

This included not only to restoration of communal and household level water and sanitation facilities, but also strengthening of governance and resilience at local levels.
As reported in the Philippine humanitarian response site, significant progress is being made in the roll out of the Philippine Approach to Total Sanitation (PHaTS) across Leyte and Eastern Samar.

The 22,063 toilets provided by various groups involving the WASH Cluster, was based on the June 19. However, another 2,579 latrines were constructed benefitting 12,891 people.

There are informal reports of more than 20 barangays across Leyte and Samar are ready to declare themselves a “zero open defecation” barangays.
It is working on the importance of water system infrastructure and water quality. In May, 2,460 people benefited from 12 systems upgrade. A desalination water treatment plant was also commissioned in Tacloban City at Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC).

As the pressure to provide long-term durable shelter solutions continues to mount, significant numbers of relocation sites are being developed by local government units and the private sector across Haiyan affected areas without adequate planning to construct WASH facilities. The upcoming rainy season also presents a heighted risk of vector and water borne diseases like dengue fever.

Health has also reported issues with community members unwilling to undertake dengue monitoring and sanitation cleaning activities without payment of cash- for- work.

Significant investment has been directed towards the capacity-building of government staff at all levels. Improvements are evident in some areas.
However, significant efforts are still required before the Cluster can fully transfer their responsibilities to the respected government counterparts. (AIRYLL A.YAPOC, LNU Intern)