Our partners from PeaceChurch Philippines sent volunteers to join our teams serving Typhoon Yolanda (international name Typhoon Haiyan) and Typhoon Ruby survivors. They interviewed several Typhoon Ruby survivors in the Municipality of Taft in Eastern Samar, an area struck heavily by Ruby (international name Typhoon Hagupit.) The typhoon destroyed the crops and livelihoods of thousands of people across the Visayan islands, and these people now desperately need support for the rebuilding of their lives. Here some stories from survivors, translated by ICT staff members Kevin Marie Becira and Jonathan Cranston.
Lucia Liberia Acang, 54 of Purok 1
Mrs. Acang and her husband live alone. Their children are grown and have their own families. Copra production was the Acangs’ main livelihood.
When Typhoon Ruby came, they evacuated to the mountain where their children live. They were not able to bring any of their belongings with them. After the typhoon receded, they returned home and found their house and all their belongings completely ruined; only wreckage remained. Their main source of livelihood had been destroyed.
On the first day after Ruby, the Acangs received relief support from the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development: 2 packs of biscuits each. On the second day they received relief supplies from the municipality: 3 kgs of rice, 2 packs of noodles, and 2 cans of sardines.
But these provisions are insufficient. What Mrs. Lucia and her family need is food for everyday consumption, a hygiene kit, and support to restart their livelihood.
Martin Diana, 64 of Purok 1
Martin and his family live on the coast of Eastern Samar. He and his wife are currently staying in their house, while their two sons are in the evacuation center.
Prior to Typhoon Ruby (international name Typhoon Hagupit), the Dianas supported themselves with their own small copra processing business and a small rice farm. All of them worked to support the family. When Typhoon Ruby was still approaching, the Dianas evacuated early. They were aware that their home would be severely hit because of its proximity to the sea. When they evacuated, they only brought with them a few changes of clothes.
When Ruby receded, and they decided to go back to their house, they saw all of their belongings either destroyed or washed away by the typhoon’s storm surge. Their house was still standing, but it had sustained severe damage. When they assessed their copra processing setup and their small farm, they found them devastated; all the coconut trees were dead and uprooted, and all the rice they had planted was ruined.
They hoped for help from the municipality, but they told us that they were only given relief provisions for the first two days following the typhoon. On the first day they received 2 kg of rice, 2 packs of Maggi brand noodles, 2 cans of sardines, and 2 packs of biscuits. On the second day they were given 1 kg of rice, 2 packs of Maggi noodles, 2 cans of sardines, and 2 packs of biscuits.
People in rural areas usually use mats of interwoven coconut fronds, called nipa, to repair holes in walls and roofs. But the typhoon left all the nipa in tatters, making it very difficult for the Dianas to repair their damaged home. They could not ask their neighbors for food or loans of money, since all the people in their area are in a similar predicament. They are finding it difficult to get back on their feet because of the devastation to the agriculture which is their source of livelihood.
In order to survive, Mr. Martin will attempt to plant sweet potatoes, since these produce a harvest within a short time frame. He hopes that this will reduce their current hunger. But the Dianas are calling for help to sustain their daily basic needs in the short term, and they need support to restart their livelihood operations and to get back on their feet in the wake of the typhoon’s ravages.
Rolando Caadan, 46 of Sitio Sabang, Purok 7
Mr. Rolando is a farmer, and copra production is his sole source of livelihood. He has a family, but they do not live with him. The other members of his family, including his children, work in a factory. He was alone when the storm struck.
His coastal home was completely destroyed. It collapsed because it was made solely of lightweight materials such as wood and nipa. He is temporarily lodging with a village captain, and has no more source of livelihood since Typhoon Ruby completely destroyed his farm.
When Mr. Rolando was asked how he is coping and what he is doing for livelihood, he was at first rendered speechless and was unable to answer. But eventually he told us that he plans to remain calm and to try not to worry about the future. The municipality gave him only two days’ worth of relief goods.