During the month of April, IOM in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) distributed solar lamps targeting population living in remote, hard-to-reach and/or high-risk areas across typhoon affected areas. In total, 3,980 solar lamps have been delivered to vulnerable families in Tacloban, 1,000 in Ormoc, 2,520 in Guiuan, 600 in Cebu and 750 in Bohol. Some of the distributions are still ongoing.
The solar lamps come in detachable parts and they can be used as flexible lantern, ceiling light, neck lamp and mobile charger with an USB adaptor. The distribution will benefit approximately 20,000 individuals to help prevent gender-based violence and keep families more secure as electricity and communication lines have been destroyed. The solar lamps can be also used for educational benefit, since kids can study at night, and they will improve safety conditions, considering that these are safer than kerosene lamps, which can cause a fire.
The beneficiaries of the solar lamps were selected based on a standard criteria of vulnerability and special needs, targeting pregnant and lactating mothers, single parent-headed households without family support, family with elderly member(s), family with persons with disabilities, extended families, fostering relatives, and separated and unaccompanied children.
The simplest task such as cooking, or finding something you left on the table has been a little difficult, I miss how it feels to have the lights back on, candles just aren’t bright enough” said one beneficiary from Tabango, Ormoc. Another beneficiary commented: “Our house is right on top of the mountain and we have never really had any access to electricity. I’m so glad that IOM came all the way to our place to give us this solar lamp. I’m happy that for once we have a brighter light at night in our home”.
IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Marco Boasso commented the importance to work in partnership with UNHCR in the distribution of solar lamps, which provides relief from the darkness to vulnerable communities and also makes them more resilient and better prepare for future natural disasters.