6 years after Yolanda, hundreds of families yet to rebuild houses
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Six years after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that battered Eastern Visayas, close to 700 families in Samar are still waiting for help to rebuild their homes.
These families, from the villages of Pinamitinan and Malobago in the municipality of Marabut, Samar, are still in makeshift shelters in the “no-build zones” – areas where residences are supposedly prohibited because they are vulnerable to natural hazards.
On Friday, November 8, the 6th anniversary of Yolanda, close to 50 residents from these Samar barangays slipped into the Tacloban Astrodome compound in Leyte to voice their concerns, hoping these would reach President Rodrigo Duterte.
Gerrybel Grafil, 49, is a fisherman from Barangay Pinamitinan: “Gin sisinaad-saaran la kami hin permanent shelter, ngan ano pa nga bulig pinansyal para kami makabakdaw. Umabot nala an 6 katuig waray la gihapon.”
(They just keep on promising us a permanent shelter, as well as cash aid to help us rebuild and get back on our feet. However, it’s been 6 years already, and no help has reached us.)
Grafil lost 3 fingers during the onslaught of Yolanda when his hand was hit by flying GI sheets.
Lina Gapul, a 53-year-old mother of 7 children and a resident of Barangay Malobago, told Rappler in the vernacular: “We were hit hard by that strong typhoon. My home and source of income were gone. But we are trying to rebuild our homes and grow crops now, but still we need help.”
Sonny Jacuno, 46 and a person with disability, said, “Baga la kami hini hin nag iinop hin maupay nga kabutang.” (It’s like an illusion of security.)
Jacuno said they were still struggling in shelters that they themselves built, and remained without stable livelihood.
“We see in the news that there’s money coming in, but where is it?” Jacuno said.
Army Captain Rhandy Magbanua of the 83rd Civil Military Company, who was in the activity area at Tacloban Astrodome for the 6th year of Yolanda commemoration, said they would assist the residents of barangays Pinamitinan and Malobago to bring their concerns to the right government agencies.
“We will do our best to make sure they will receive response to their concerns from government agencies,” Magbanua said.
The residents of Barangay Pinamitinan prepared a letter, in Filipino, that they wanted to reach President Duterte.
They said their village, which is in the 2nd District of Samar, is surrounded by water, near the Pacific Ocean. The residents – numbering 614 in 2013, when the super typhoon struck – had lost their livelihood as fishermen and farmers.
Of the 155 households in the barangay, 85 were told they were not qualified for the Emergency Shelter Assistance because they lived in the “no-build zone.” – Rappler.com