Typhoon Ruby batters Catbalogan's sea wall, sets residents back
CATBALOGAN, Philippines – The residents of Catbalogan's coastal areas bore the brunt of tropical storms and typhoons of 2014 - tropical storm Ruby (international name: Hagupit) is no different.
Pia Ranada reports.
Storm surges quickly damaged Jinky Acosta's house in Catbalogan, Samar.
It's not surprising since she and her neighbors live on top of a sea wall. Jinky says the strength of the storm surprised her.
JINKY ACOSTA, CATBALOGAN RESIDENT: Ito grabe tapos yung bagyo parang 24 hours hindi pa nakakaalis. Basta ngayon lang ako nagka ganito. Maraming bagyo dumaan. Dito lang ang nakakanerbyos. (It was extreme. This storm seemed to last for 24 hours without leaving. It's the first time I've experienced something like this. Many storms have passed. This is the first storm that made me nervous.)
The water reached well over 6 feet, gutting out houses, stripping them of roofs. But Acosta, like her neighbors, was safe in an evacuation center by that time.
On Monday she returns to repair the damage and get their lives to normal.
MARIA PATRIA DACALLOS, CATBALOGAN RESIDENT: Papaayos ko muna yung bubong. Yung mga anak ko nandoon pa sa evacuation center. Ako lang muna ang umuwi kasi aayos ko muna yung bahay para yung mga bata ma-safety. (I will have the roof repaired first. My kids are still in the evacuation center. I went home first to fix the house so that the kids are safe when they return.)
Strong waves from Ruby tore into the seawall which had only just been repaired.
ENRIQUE MABINGNAY, CATBALOGAN RESIDENT: Pagkalipas ng Glenda, mga tatlong araw, apat, ginagawa kaagad kasi walang dadaanan yung mga tao. Mga ilang buwan pa lang, tapos dumaan na naman yung bagyo, yun nasira uli. (After Glenda, 3 or 4 days after, they repaired it right away because people had nowhere to pass. After a few months, another storm comes and it's damaged again.)
As it stands, the seawall isn't a comfort to the residents. But they say they will stay.
ENRIQUE MABINGNAY, CATBALOGAN RESIDENT: Dito naman kami nakatira tapos dito na lumaki. Tsaka matanda na rin kami rito. Wala na kaming malilipatang ibang lugar. (We live here and grew up here. Many of us here are old. We don't have anywhere else to go.)
Even if recovery is in the horizon, Typhoon Ruby is a big setback for people like Acosta. She still has debts to pay from the last storm.
JINKY ACOSTA, CATBALOGAN RESIDENT: Yung paninda ko inutang pa. Tatlong araw na hindi ako nakahulog. Wala kaming ibang maasahan. Sira pa yung bahay namin, wala pa kaming pera. (I borrowed money for my store. I haven't paid in 3 days. We don't have any other source of income. Our house is damaged. We don't have money.)
Living close to the edge, those on the seawall dread the next disaster.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Catbalogan. – Rappler.com