Relief goods short, just 3 kilos of rice and a can of sardines

TACLOBAN CITY (MindaNews/18 November)—For some folk in this city, which was flattened by super typhoon “Yolanda,” relief goods reaching them are not enough, despite the massive arrival of supplies from around the nation and from foreign countries.

“What will you do with three kilos of rice and a can of sardines?” asked Delia F. Dysoco, a retired government employee, speaking to MindaNews at the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) compound here last Saturday.

She said she received only one relief pack since Yolanda ravaged communities in Leyte and Samar last November 8, killing thousands of people and leaving wide swathes of destruction.

Dysoco lives in V and G Subdivision, the biggest subdivision in the city and home to 2,300 families, in Barangay Calanipawa.

She estimated that 95 percent of houses in their subdivision were damaged by the typhoon, mostly their roofs and ceilings.

Dysoco said that in some areas, water rose neck-high after a river overflowed.

With the chaotic situation during the first four days such as looting and the failure of the government to address the needs of the survivors, she said they decided to leave for Cebu City along with her son, his wife and their daughter, for good.

That Saturday, Dysoco, 67, and her son’s family were waiting for the Kapitan Felix Oca, a foreign-owned ship, to finish the unloading of tons of relief goods from Manila so they could board it.

Wheelchair-bound due to diabetis and hypertension, she cited the lack of medicines as one of the reasons why she is leaving this city.

“There are no drugstores in the city doing business and I was advised by my doctor to maintain certain medicines,” she said.

Asked if she has a relative in Cebu, she said: “No. I don’t have. In fact, we don’t know where to stay.”

She said her son would look for a place to stay in Cebu.

“This typhoon brought us in trouble,” Dysoco said.

Dysoco and her family were just among the dozens of residents here who were waiting at the stinking ground floor of the PPA-Tacloban building. Others waited outside. Most of them were women and children.

‘Nothing at all’

Shan Villones, a resident of Salazar Street in Barangay 43-A, said they received nothing at all since the typhoon hit the area.

“We did not receive any relief goods until today,” he told MindaNews Sunday noon.

He said they were supposed to get three kilos of rice and a can of sardine at the barangay hall but when they took the queue, the supply ran out.

“I don’t want to go there anymore. Three kilos of rice and a can of sardine is not enough for a big family for one week,” said Villones as he washed clothes and cleaned up debris.

He said without their sari-sari store, he could have joined several others who resorted to looting out of desperation.

“These goods in our store sustained our daily needs and that of some neighbors who begged for rice and other canned goods,” he said.

Villones said they are running out of stocks, and if department stores won’t open soon, they would probably go somewhere.

“All stores are still closed, you can’t buy what you need,” he stressed.

Villones said their appliances were destroyed as well as other important stuff.

Richard Uy, a local businessman, appeared dismayed by the government’s response even as he noted that typhoon Yolanda’s impact was terrible.

“My Levi’s store downtown was robbed. I got mad on that situation where looting was rampant for three days. My store was among the first to be robbed,” he said.

Despite what happened to him, Uy led his group, the Rotary Club of San Juanico, in extending relief and rescue assistance to his fellow Taclobanons.

“I got some donations from my friends and other organizations and we dispatched it directly to the needy ones,” he said.

Fernando “Jun” Almeda, a retired government worker, and his team from Surigao City went here and some parts of southern Leyte to also help in the relief operations.

“Our relief goods are not much but at least we give it directly to the victims,” he said, noting they reached as far as Baybay City. (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)