Julia Diessl is WatSan Delegate at IFRC MSM 20 ERU German / Austrian Red Cross in Dulag, Leyte, Philippines
Comfort Rooms that is the name for a toilet in the Philippines. After the typhoon most of them do not look comfortable at all. Thus in our mission we focus on construction of emergency Comfort Rooms that different families can share or that are installed at public places like schools or universities. Camote is one of the Barangays (political defined region) that is very actively participating to construct their family shared Comfort Rooms. There is no need to explain to the audience and to the victims of the devastating typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, that hand washing is a key issue to prevent individuals against vector and water borne diseases. Thus by providing material we can easily support the community to set up elaborate hand washing facilities next to the public emergency Comfort Rooms we have constructed or rehabilitated.
Back to school
The 6th of January is not a public holiday in the Philippines, it leads students back to school. Here kids spend up to eight hours of the day at school, if the families currently can afford the school fees and do not need their help in their households. As one group of the population especially vulnerable to vector and water borne diseases we focused our work in the last couple of days to make sure, that proper sanitation facilities are available at the different schools. Fixing a broken door, unclogging a Comfort Room, providing a bucket with faucet and soap as hand washing facility and many other interventions. Such small things can relief the situation and ensure that students can use a secure and safe toilet as displayed on our different picture. In case of total damage of classrooms our emergency latrines provide a temporary solution. Hygiene and health promotion is a part accompanying these interventions continuously.
It is a pleasure to see the Red Cross movement united in the field, in my case it is the involvement of Philippine, German, Spanish and of course of my own National Society, the Austrian Red Cross.