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Sanitation Program of Tacloban City Gets Boost from CDIA

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In the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded in world history, the City Government of Tacloban in the Philippines embarked on a massive relocation program to move to higher ground residents who used to live in high-risk coastal areas.

CDIA’s upcoming project preparation study (PPS) will support the development of an integrated investment program to ensure that adequate sanitation services are available in Tacloban City, particularly in the Tacloban North resettlement sites, where 16,000 families have been relocated.

“Our technical assistance aims to identify priority investments related to fecal sludge management in the resettlement area and commercial wastewater treatment in the city,” says Kathleen Jovellanos, CDIA Capacity Development Specialist who will manage the PPS. “This will prevent the water bodies surrounding Tacloban from being recipients of untreated wastewater.”

Sanitation infrastructure is lacking in the city. Residents use on-site facilities (septic tanks) with fecal sludge being collected by private contractors, but which is indiscriminately dumped at multiple locations without government regulations. Major establishments such as the Tacloban City Supermarket, Tacloban City Fish Port and the Tacloban Convention Center in the port area have no wastewater collection and treatment facilities.

The combination of domestic sludge disposal and the lack of commercial wastewater treatment is directly leading to the pollution of the five bays surrounding the city, which are habitat for countless marine species and sources of livelihood for many fisherfolks.

Starting May 2022, CDIA will undertake a PPS covering the entire Tacloban City but with priority infrastructure investments in Tacloban North, where 40% of the 280,000-city population now resides. It will prepare a feasibility study and preliminary design for the proposed fecal sludge management in the resettlement area and a commercial wastewater treatment facility in Tacloban City.

CDIA will help address issues in the entire sanitation service chain (from waste collection up to treatment) and embed principles of inclusive and integrated citywide sanitation planning in order to increase the sustainability of the interventions. It will also investigate various financing schemes for the implementation of the infrastructure projects.

Considering that Tacloban is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change such as increased frequency and severity of tropical cyclones, CDIA will conduct a climate risk and vulnerability assessment to identify site-specific risks and mitigation measures to increase the resilience of the city.

The review of institutional capacities and financial aspects in the management of fecal sludge will further lead to the preparation of a capacity building and institutional roadmap that will identify short-, medium- and long-term interventions to build the capacity of the city and its related institutions to implement and maintain the project in a sustainable manner.

“We are excited to begin working with the city of Tacloban. We hope that our assistance will contribute to the overall effort of the city to become livable, economically competitive, and resilient to the impacts of climate change,” says Kathleen.

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