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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Three Months After Typhoon Yolanda, Rehabilitation Plans Still Unclear

When Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines, it made sure to make an impact. Those affected the most were the ones that were the most vulnerable to start with.

Iris Santos*, 21 years old, is living alone with her 6 month old son in Barangay Canlampay, Carigara, Leyte when Typhoon Yolanda came. Her husband, a jeepney conductor in Manila, was not there to witness the gushing rain and turbulent winds. Up until today, he has not been able to go home due to financial constraints. For his return would mean the loss of the only income the family receives. Their house, made of light materials, was not able to withstand the typhoon and collapsed. They have since lived in a makeshift hut, made of whatever materials they could find to put together. Relief drive operations help them through, being their only source of food.

The situation is not much different for Anna Cruz*, aged 42. Her house was totally damaged as well after Typhoon Yolanda came. She and her husband were not able to put up a makeshift hut immediately and thus had to transfer from one relative’s house to another. The number of houses they found themselves in totaled to 4. She has two 2 year old grandchildren totally dependent on her after her daughter left them just two months after giving birth. Both are malnourished having only taken “am” or rice stock instead of their mother’s milk.

Barangay Canlampay, Carigara, Leyte is a farming community with 903 inhabitants. They plant rice in the fields and rely on copra, dried coconut meat used in the extraction of coconut oil, for their source of income. Like most families, Iris and Anna are also dependent on relief goods to survive. The vegetable garden and coconut trees that once helped feed them were all destroyed by the typhoon.

When asked what kind of help they have received from the government, they say that they have received nothing yet. The relief goods are all from private organizations. They have heard no plans, whatsoever, on the rehabilitation efforts for Barangay Canlampay. They do not know what will become of them. They wonder if the government even stops to think of them as more than just one number in the statistics.

Both are faces that represent what millions of other Filipinos are experiencing after Typhoon Yolanda. The air of uncertainty lingers as to what the steps will be taken to enable the survivors to stand on their own again.

*Not her real name.

Photo by Zdian of Learn CENE

1 comment:

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