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Typhoon-affected communities in Guiuan, Samar can now access safe, affordable toilets

Guiuan, Samar – Safe, sanitary, and affordable toilets are now accessible to Typhoon Haiyan-affected communities in Eastern Samar.

Oxfam, through its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Markets project or WHAM, in partnership with Bayan Academy, launched these products yesterday at the Barato Nga Kasilyas Showcase Area located in Barangay Surok, Guiuan, Samar.

An estimated 300 people participated in the Sanitation Market Fair at the Guiuan Integrated Transport Terminal. The event aims to encourage vulnerable families to invest in better sanitation facilities for a healthy community. The fair introduced affordable and quality WASH products like toilet bowls, toilets, and septic tanks. Some of these toilet models are made of indigenous and collapsible materials which can be disassembled for safe-keeping in times of disaster. Trained masons can be reliable service providers to construct these toilets.

“There are a number of families in Eastern Samar who do not have toilets particularly those who are living in the coastal areas,“ said Rona Raisa Ramos, Oxfam’s WHAM Specialist.  “Inadequate WASH services increase the possibility of people getting exposed to public health risks. Water is always needed for everyday household needs, and the maintenance of livelihoods. Increased public investments in water and sanitation facilities will provide people with better access to these services, thus reducing the risk of them getting sick.”

Ramos added that waste materials that are indiscriminately disposed can contaminate water resources, thus posing a threat to the environment and public health. “By promoting and pushing for proper waste management in Samar through this sanitation market fair, we can contribute to efforts in reducing water-related illnesses, pollution, and protecting the environment.”

Various stakeholders participated in the event, including representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Science and Technology, TESDA, Department of Agrarian Reform, local government units from the municipalities of Guiuan, Salcedo, Balangiga, Lawaan, Borongan City, Sulat; international NGOs such CordAid, Catholic Relief Services, UNDP, PLAN International, ACTED, Philippine Red Cross, People In Need, Habitat for Humanity, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Philippine Society of Sanitary Engineers, Inc. (PSSE), LCVI Corp; the masons and community organizations, as well as hardware store owners and water companies.

The campaign is part of Oxfam’s joint project with Bayan Academy Foundation, aimed at promoting WASH-related enterprises in Haiyan-affected areas, particularly in Bantayan Island, Cebu, and in the municipalities of Guian, Salcedo, and Sulat, in Eastern Samar. The project aims to improve health and sanitation in the communities through financial literacy and microenterprise development. //