Families speak of a challenging New Year
While most of us have already listed and posted our New Year’s resolutions on social media, many families in Typhoon Nina-stricken towns in Camarines Sur and Albay are still at a lost on what to do after their houses were swept away and severely damaged by the recent typhoon.
Danny, 33, whose house was crushed to the ground by Typhoon Nina (international name Nock-ten), admits he doesn’t know what to do next. “Repairing my house would depend on the money I’ll earn,” he says.
Typhoon Nina battered several provinces in the Bicol Region on Christmas Eve. More than 400,000 families have been affected, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported. The numbers are expected to increase once information becomes available from areas that are not yet reached due to communication and logistical challenges that are hampering relief efforts.
Danny is a construction worker who earns between Php200 ($4) to Php300 ($6) a day. “But it is not always that way. There are times when there is no work,” he adds. Construction works are aplenty on summer, between February and May.
His wife, Monet says that their family has been living in a relative’s house, which now accommodates three families. “It is difficult and uncomfortable for us. You cannot do what you want to do because there are other families,” she says.
The couple has only one child, Dessa, 8, who will be going back to school on the first week of January. “I’m excited to go back to school,” she shyly says.
Like other children in her village, Dessa’s school things got soaked under the rain or blown away by strong winds. She managed to save her notebooks but very few of these can be used anymore.
When asked what she will do now that she doesn’t have much school supplies, she just shrugged and hid behind her mother. Her parents still don’t know what to do yet.
Like Danny’s family, father of two Ronel, 25, has his house damaged by Typhoon Nina. His two children, Rosalyn, 5, and Jonel, 10 months, and wife, Josalyn, 25, are currently living in a relative’s house. He also irregularly works as a construction worker.
“We’re starting the New Year with problems,” Ronel says, showing what was left of his house.
A family would need between Php10,000 ($200) to Php20,000 ($400) to construct a house comfortable for a family of five. In a village where fathers are either fishermen or construction workers, the amount would take forever to raise and pay.
“The most difficult part after every typhoon is to repair the house. We can get food anywhere, but our house, no,” Ronel admits.
Danny’s and Ronel’s villages still have no electricity and it may take two to three months for it to be restored.
World Vision’s response aims to support and complement the government-led efforts as well as work with other non-government organizations in the affected areas. During the first month, World Vision will provide lifesaving essentials like shelter kits, kitchen kits and other non-food items to initially 2,000 typhoon-affected families living in hard-hit municipalities Camarines Sur and Albay provinces. The government declared a state of calamity for both provinces.World Vision/January 4, 2017