Lancaster – It’s the first week of Spring Semester at Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington, but Emeritus Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology Gary Lockwood isn’t in the classroom. He’s putting his engineering knowledge to use in the Philippines, helping with the disaster recovery effort after Super Typhoon Haiyan.
“I'm here with Samaritan's Purse. I'm associated with eMi, Engineering Ministries International. It's an organization out of Colorado Springs that organizes engineering mission trips around the world,” said Lockwood. “Samaritan's Purse contacts eMi asking for engineers who can help during disaster response. EMi put out a request asking if anyone is interested in helping, and I volunteered.”
Lockwood left Ohio on January 5 and will return January 26. This is not Lockwood’s first trip with Samaritan’s Purse. He has previously been on design trips to Uganda, Haiti and India, but, this is his first disaster relief response trip. Lockwood is a retired professor and worked with Associate Dean Janet Becker to make sure arrangements were made for the classes he would miss at the beginning of the semester.
“I'm in the hardest hit area in the City of Tacloban,” said Lockwood. “The staff here in Tacloban is roughly 40 people. Many of the volunteers are doctors, nurses, and engineers.”
Lockwood is working with five other engineers on water, sanitation and hygiene issues. Specifically, he is working on wells in order to provide clean water to the people.
“Today we were able to get good results for one of several wells to serve roughly 2000 people,” said Lockwood via email on January 9. “Our team is working in an area about 100 miles long that is located along the coast.”
There are many agencies helping with the disaster relief efforts in the Philippines, including the International Red Cross, the United Nations, UNICEF and several countries. Lockwood is working on wells located near housing that is being constructed for people who were made homeless by the storm.
“Each unit is roughly 20' x 20' and will house a family of five, give or take,” said Lockwood. “There are many units, and it’s very dense.”
Super Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest storms recorded on the planet and hit the Philippines in early November. The storm was reported to have had sustained winds of 195 miles per hour and gusts as strong as 235 miles per hour. Haiyan was probably the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in the world in recorded history. The storm’s wind strength made it equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.