Disaster Response Networks (DRN’s) coordinated and led by PBCI relief operations trainer Kriz Cruzado have been traveling around Eastern Samar distributing aid since December 19th. As the area was hit by Tropical Storm Seniang in late December, regional needs have ramped up from the already high level caused by Typoon Hagupit. This has not stopped Kriz and the DRN’s from packaging and loading aid and distributing it in hard to reach places, though, and making good on the immense support we have received from donors across the country and around the world.
PBCI would like to thank our donors from the bottom of our hearts. We have received aid in the form of money, food, hygiene products, and rental services – to name a few – which we have compiled into aid packages. We thank God for the generosity of Mennonite Church Canada; Mr. Vincente Hao Chin Jr.; Ptr. Jun Villarta; Pts. Genesis Cagula; the Shepherds of Palompon; Philippine Council of Evangelival Churches; Peace Church in Manila and their various donors; Victory Christian Church; and the Merida, Isabel Disaster Response Network. With your support we have been able to mobilize the humble service of six different DRN’s (ranging in size from around 15 volunteers for packaging and loading, and 9-22 volunteers for distribution) for four different locations in Eastern Samar, with five more scheduled. Without yet using all of our resources, by the end of next week Kriz and Co. will have spent 130,114 PhP on aid for survivors, feeding and supplying almost 1,900 families, or nearly 8,500 individuals.
Because the situation is dire, and with more storms is only escalating, our teams have endured many challenges. However, these are only corollaries of the grim conditions many survivors now find themselves in. Because of these things, though, the joy felt upon giving and receiving is multiplied. Here is an individual story from Kriz which is representative of the greater reality:
From Barangay Del Pilar, the team went to Osmena – the most challenging place to go to among the three barangays. To get to Barangay Osmena, the team had to ride a motorised boat from Del Pilar for another hour or so, but since this community is located farther from the dropping point, the team and the relief food packs had to be transported for 8 kilometres to another dropping point by a tractor. At the second dropping point, the team had to carry the sacks across a hanging bridge to get to the boundary of Osmena and then rode another tractor to the barangay. The Barangay Captain was informed about the relief operation through a letter sent by the municipal office.
By the time the relief operation was finished, everyone was already very exhausted and thinking of going back on the same route was already a bit overwhelming. During our orientation with MSWD, the team was told that it’s dangerous to travel at night, so they had to leave Barangay Osmena while the sun is still up. As everyone was preparing to leave, the Barangay Captain approached them with so much gratefulness. “You’re the first group who ever came to our barangay to personally give relief goods. I am very happy that you came. We will never forget your kindness and solidarity with us,” he said. Those words were enough to inspire everyone as they headed back to the town of Dolores. The way back was more difficult because everyone had to walk, and spending a few hours in the dark, traversing the river is indeed scary, but everyone survived it. (Emphasis added).
And praise God for that! Once again, we thank you for your support, and kindly ask that you continue to open your hearts in prayer for the survivors, as well as for teams’ safety, strength, and wisdom in this trying time.
*The following pictures were taken in Ormoc, one of the areas hardest hit by Hagupit, and also affected by Seniang.