Treatment Facility Provides Safe Sanitation in the Philippines

March 11, 2016 • Philippines
Samaritan's Purse helped in the construction of this brand-new sanitation facility in Tacloban. WASH Philippines
Samaritan's Purse helped in the construction of this brand-new sanitation facility in Tacloban.

Samaritan’s Purse helped construct a new septage facility in Tacloban, a city devastated by Typhoon Haiyan

When Typhon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines in November 2013, Tacloban bore the brunt of the brutal storm. Nearly 4,000 people in that city–the capital of Leyte Province—were killed, and most every building was damaged or destroyed as a 20-foot wave surged through the area. Tens of thousands of people were left homeless.

Samaritan’s Purse launched a massive and immediate response—providing food, shelter, clean water, and medical care in the Name of Jesus Christ.

Following up our initial efforts, we have continued to work in Tacloban (as well as other areas), focusing on long-term needs like sanitation and hygiene. We built thousands of toilets in the city, but once septic tanks were full, they were dumped into culverts or into the ocean.

“This was not a safe standard,” said Katelyn Holmberg, program manager for water, sanitation and hygiene in the Philippines. “It released many harmful toxins into the environment.”

These toxins can lead to water-borne diseases, such as cholera and dysentery. So, in June 2015, Samaritan’s Purse stepped in and began construction on a septage treatment facility.

A Healthier Tacloban
Samaritan’s Purse facilitated the design and construction of the climate-resistant treatment plant —the first facility of its kind in the Philippines.

WASH, sanitation, Philippines, Dr. Patrick Gitonga, country director, addressed the crowd at handover.

Dr. Patrick Gitonga, country director, spoke at the handover ceremony in Tacloban on March 8.

“The facility will treat the septage properly so it can be released safely back into the environment,” Holmberg said. “Septage management is the pinnacle of sanitation.”

The Tacloban facility, which will serve the city population of about 220,000, has eight treatment steps, which will drastically reduce the spread of water-borne diseases and help residents maintain better health.

In a ceremony on March 8, Samaritan’s Purse turned over responsibility for the facility to city officials.

The treatment plant will serve the people of Tacloban for years to come and brings the city one step closer to G3 status—the top tier of sanitation based on the Philippines Approach to Total Sanitation.

“Our work is not done,” said Samaritan’s Purse Country Director Patrick Gitonga. “[We] could see many communities across the country upgraded to this zenith of sanitation standards.”

Philippines gardening
Philippines Projects Samaritan's Purse is working to improve the quality of life for impoverished families in both rural and urban areas of the Philippines. We are training women and expectant mothers on best feeding practices for infants and young children. Our teams are providing malnutrition screening, medical care, clean water, latrines, and hygiene education. We’re also supporting families through livelihood projects such as community gardening and pig raising, as well as vocational skills and microenterprise training. Most importantly, our staff are sharing the Gospel. We partner with local churches to offer evangelism and discipleship courses so that they can reach their communities with the hope of Jesus Christ.

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