Two years ago Super Typhoon Yolanda left 6,300 casualties; and more than 28,689 people with injuries. 1, 061 remains missing and hundreds of families still live in bunkhouses.
According to the latest report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the damage to property caused by Yolanda stands at P89,598,068,634. This includes the thousands of houses of people along the coastal areas who were left homeless. Because of the help coming from various international Non-Governmental Organizations or iNGOs, NGOs, and the government, infrastructures and houses were rebuilt.
In an article posted on thestandard.com.ph on October 29, 2015, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Dinky Soliman, was quoted saying; “We are assuring [the public] that by the end of October, there will no longer be bunkhouses in Tacloban. These aren’t safe so we’ll remove them.” Yet, when our team visited the place on November 6, some 307 families still remains at NHA Bunkhouse in Barangay 63, Tacloban City.
According to Monina, a housewife and one of the IDPs from the Shed area in Brgy. 58, Sagkahan, Tacloban City. A raffle was already conducted to determine as to where they would be transferred but as of now they won’t be able to use them because the units are not yet done and there is still no water supply and electricity at their assigned relocation area.
Monina used to be a fish vendor just like most of the residents in the Shed area. She recalled that she was contented with her life there because she and her husband would earn enough for their daily needs. Now, Monina sells mami and barbecue in a small stall made of lumber and tent along the road after she received utensils from an iNGO. She said what she earns now is nothing compared to what she used to earn as a fish vendor. Just like other displaced families from the coastal areas, her family is hesitant to transfer to the allotted relocation site provided by the government because they don’t know how to make a living in the far-flung barangays when their livelihood is fishing. But she remains optimistic that they would be given livelihood program ones they are transferred to their permanent house.
Monina is hoping to avail of a multicub livelihood program or a capital to start a wholesale business. Despite the difficulties they are experiencing in living in the bunkhouse, Monina is not in a hurry to move to their relocation area because it is far from her son’s school.
Most of us are wondering why do these people still chose to go back to the coastal areas even if it is dangerous when strong typhoons such as the Super Typhoon Yolanda comes. Here are five (5) reasons Monina cited:
These people are usually fishermen or fish vendors, they depend on the sea for their livelihood. The permanent relocation sites are in the far-flung areas, how do you expect them to work there? Moving them inland is like taking a fish out of the sea. For them to be able to sustain, they must have at least an employment opportunity near their new home because if they have to travel far just to get an employment then it is useless.
Most of these families have more than one child studying near their previous residence. It would not be practical for them to travel back and forth every day and as of now there are no schools in the relocation areas. They would also be far from markets and groceries which means that basic needs would cost higher in the nearest sari-sari stores or retail stores.
As of now most relocation sites still don’t have electricity. Everyone in Eastern Visayas knows what it is like living without electricity so I guess we would all be able to relate to that, no need to explain further.
4. Water Supply
According to Monina, the last time they visited their relocation site; there is still no water supply. Water is one of the basic needs that should be addressed by the government first before they move the people there.
5. Possibility of substandard building materials
Now, we all know that the main reason for moving these families to a relocation site away from the coastline is for their SAFETY. Yes, they would be safe from storm surge, but is it also safe for them to live in a house that is built with possibly substandard building materials? Monina said that there are alleged cracks on the walls of the houses that have not yet been occupied so she is hesitant to move there, though she’s not sure if those cracks were a product of substandard building materials or not. According to her, their lives will only be at risk in the coastal area when there is a typhoon but there, they don’t know how long it would hold.
Most people would judge them of being hard-headed and not thinking of their own safety. I hope this opens up our minds as to why they are sometimes hard to convince to leave their old houses in the coastal areas. A sustainable income for this families should be put into consideration so that they may be able to start a new life, and a new environment.