(Tacloban, Leyte) —NRECA executive vice-president Martin Lowery and former NRECA Board president Michael Guidry presented checks to 11 electric cooperatives devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. Not-for-profit cooperatives and individuals across the country raised more than $100,000 to assist sister cooperatives in the Philippines.
Lowery and Guidry traveled to Tacloban and other towns in Leyte to deliver the checks and also to survey first-hand recovery efforts in the affected areas.
“As a co-op general manager in Louisiana, I oversaw restoration after Hurricanes Gustave and Ike, but I never saw anything like the total devastation I’ve seen here,” said Guidry, former general manager at South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association. “The destruction is degrees of magnitude greater. People are coping, and there is a strong semblance of normal daily activity, but the reconstruction challenge is simply overwhelming.”
“Restoring electric service is a first priority for stable planning, and all eleven electric cooperatives that sustained total destruction are well on their way to full system restoration,” noted Lowery. “Without electric service, many who left after the storm will not return. With full service, many will come home and begin the massive work of rebuilding the housing stock,” Lowery said.
“The devastation is pervasive, even after three months of recovery work. Virtually every roof was destroyed in the storm, leading the people on Leyte Island to coin the phrase ‘roofless but not hopeless.’”
Representatives from NRECA and PhilRECA are holding strategic planning meetings during the trip.
Philippine cooperatives receiving the funds are:
- Leyte I Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Leyte II Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Leyte V Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Capiz Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Aklan Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Iloilo III Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Cebu II Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Bantayan Island Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Leyte III Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Camotes Island Electric Cooperative, Inc.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.
NRECA International projects and programs have created more than 250 successful rural electric enterprises in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen. The rural electric cooperatives that NRECA has formed and supported now serve more than 110 million rural beneficiaries in more than 40 countries.