Map of Eastern Visayas
Meggie, one of the volunteers at 350 Pilipinas traveling in the areas impacted by Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda, follows up to the first report back with the following two updates.
We are still reeling from the devastation that we saw in Eastern Visayas and got caught up with the relief drive when we got back. We will be sending the first wave of relief goods tomorrow so everyone is busy taking care of the logistics but we are all set now. We drafted a short account of what we saw during our trip to the Yolanda-impacted areas.
There is little or no building left standing in the towns we came across leading up to Tacloban City, which is a virtual no man’s land. We saw an evacuation center made of concrete that wasn’t spared by the devastating gusts and storm surges. It collapsed and killed 13 people that sought refuge in it, including small children. Typhoon Haiyan uprooted or damaged all sources of subsistence and livelihood, and the debris and flood waters contaminated most sources of water. There were dead bodies that the government still hasn’t cleaned up yet, and heaps of debris and rubble are everywhere.
The survivors we have talked to confirmed that hardships continue to persist on the ground: government relief still has yet to arrive in these areas a full week after the disaster and survival has been the priority of the families, with a lot of them resorting to looting or scavenging. They are urgently in need of at least a week’s worth of food, water, and materials for temporary shelters. In the long term, the people will be needing help in reconstructing their homes and infrastructure, and rebuilding their livelihoods.
The assessment team identified 24 priority municipalities and cities – these are communities that are among the most affected, but have local people’s organizations that can help facilitate the efficient and secure delivery of relief. Our local partners will also serve as the main conduit for long-term climate change education and action, as we believe the best way to help the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan is through empower them towards struggling for climate justice.
I’m sharing with you the output of our trip to Leyte and Samar, the (partial) needs and damages assessment report. This is not as technical and complete as we would have liked but we were only able to scan the area and had limited time. The team needed to get back as soon as the logistics have been prepared and arrange for the actual relief operations which kicked off today. Leon [other 350 Pilipinas volunteer] joined the relief caravan and maybe he will have a more detailed report on what is happening on the ground.
NOTE: Brigada Kalikasan and Kalikasan PNE are coordinating with Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan or BALSA in shipping the relief goods to Eastern VIsayas, that is why we signed the report under BALSA.
We’re so grateful for the dedication of people like Meggie and Leon, who provide support around relief and rehabilitation, as well as connect the dots of extreme weather event impacts and climate justice. Let’s keep raising our money and our voices for them!