Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Oct 02nd
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Home Global Activities Asia Survey Teams Visit More Areas in Leyte

Survey Teams Visit More Areas in Leyte

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Survey teams of Tzu Chi Foundation have continued visiting the worst-hit areas in Leyte on November 15 to assess the extent of damage and identify the kind of help that can be offered the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

This day is the third leg of the foundation’s initial efforts to assist the disaster victims in the region. Surveys, medical missions, and relief distributions are simultaneously being done by different teams to speed up the operations.

On this day, one team of volunteer have travelled to Tacloban City, the area which is reported to suffer the hardest, while another have visited several areas in Ormoc City, including seven barangays (the smallest administrative division in the Philippines) and three schools.

The residents from the latter city explain how losing their livelihood greatly impacts their recovery. The family of Pono, for instance, mainly depends on their livelihood of making nipa (a kind of roofing made of palm tree leaves). But because the typhoon swept their farm of palm trees, income has stopped and they would have to wait for six months to harvest mature leaves from the tree.

“Everyone from our place have this kind of livelihood. The typhoon swept our livelihood and destroyed our houses at the same time. We do not know where to get our daily needs,” Pono says.

As of the moment, she relates that they still have some stock of food left. “We have something to eat for at least two more weeks but after that, we no longer have any idea how to get by. Rice is now being sold at an inflated price and there is a very limited supply. We can only buy up to two kilos, each for P60 (19 USD),” she adds.

Their community is flanked by a river which overflowed during the height of the typhoon. Pono’s house was destroyed after a coconut tree was uprooted, directly falling over their direction.

Crisanta, a mother of three, is also worried how they can manage to live when buying their needs is just as difficult as earning an income. Although it had been days since the typhoon, only a few stores have opened up.

“We are badly in need of clothes and food. Financial means is really difficult. We have to make do with what we have, however small,” she says. Her husband works as a driver in the city.

Their dwelling is made of bamboo, a nipa roof and is without door. After the typhoon, they are able to gather some galvanized iron sheets which have been flown by the strong winds.

Also in this community lives an old couple, Mistula, 89 and her 90-year-old husband, who manages to live in their dilapidated hut. Typhoon Yolanda has blown their decade old bamboo hut sideways that its dwellers have to stoop inside and move slowly so it would not completely fall to the ground.

Asked why they would not leave their shack, Mistula replies they have nowhere else to stay as all their six children are in the same unfortunate situation. “We just put our faith to God,” she says.

Mistula suffers from asthma but could not bring herself to a doctor. Given their poverty, buying medicine is also difficult. Life has also been harder for them after the typhoon uprooted the coconut trees where they used to get an income.

The areas visited this time are Camp Downes, Can Adieng, San Juan, Margen, Curva, Liloan, Libertad, and Cogon. Also, a total of 828 residents have benefited from the relief distribution held in Bantigue and Laray while some 855 patients have been treated during the medical mission in Barangay Ipil, also in Ormoc City.

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