Life Three Months after Yolanda (Haiyan)

By: Mandy Schouren

It’s getting hotter and hotter every day in Leyte, summer is coming.

The rain which is mostly gone, made it very difficult for the local people to find a livable spot after Yolanda because they had a lot of floodings the following weeks. This meant big muddy areas everywhere, hardly a dry place to sleep and unfortunately this also came with a lot of diseases.

A lot of medical volunteers are working very hard to help as much as they can. The line-up in front of the pharmacy is very long, every day, but we are glad there are medical supplies coming in and people are getting help. Some VFV volunteers brought in medical supplies which they distributed to a rural village where the hospital was very low on supplies.

One village is damaged more than the other. Some villages along the shore got washed up by the huge storm surge (tsunami), other villages more in land got hit by 300km/h winds. Some still live in the disaster tents they got supplied, some rebuild a house from scrap metal and some are still living in the buildings used for shelter housing.

But it’s good to see that in every village the people are very self-sufficient in every possible way they can.

The government is working on clearing out all the rubbish everywhere, but that’s going slowly. People clear their area out and make a big pile of rubbish on the site of the road for the trucks to pick it up. Every day we see those trucks collecting garbage, there is still a lot of rubbish around but progress is noticeable.

Even as progress in the power lines and running water is noticeable but very slow. More and more places get running water, some through water points in a central area and others get water through the tap in their house.

Bliss, the area where we VFV volunteers live in homestays is not expecting to get power before June, therefore the households that could afford it bought a generator so they have electricity a few hours at night.

Some areas around are starting to have power, we noticed streetlights being on, which you normally take for granted but is very excited when you live here.

Downtown is getting electricity block by block, a very positive progress in this is that shops and restaurants are opening in Tacloban City. This means that business is starting to get back on their feet and people are earning money so they can take care of themselves, their family and their house.

Even nature is slowly making its way back to normal. The mountains in the distance are getting a beautiful green colour again and rural village started to plant new rice fields. Sadly most of the coconut trees snapped and there are hardly any coconuts left. This is bad for the coconut farmers because they live on the income from their coconuts – juice and wine.

But now that everything is starting to get back on track again the locals are happy that the prices are slowly going down as well. Because the prices for rice, meat, vegetables, building material and most of the other supplies needed where two or three times as high as before Yolanda.

This made it even more difficult for people to survive if you already lost so much.

It’s still a long way to go but very nice to see that everybody is doing their very best to get this beautiful place up and livable again.

VFV Volunteers are all contributing their very best in giving help in every way needed.

The last few weeks we worked really hard to get the VFV center in Bliss fixed, the roof was badly damaged so we had to rebuild the roof, paint the walls and the ceiling.

It’s pretty much up and running now so the lovely ladies from VFV can do their work in a decent environment so we can get more projects going and give more help.

One of the projects running at the moment is Build-A-House. VFV guys together with local guys are working on building a house, everything needs to be done by hand, but their making very good progress.

The nutrition project is off and running again which means VFV nutrition volunteers cook food for the kids and do a health check-up on the kids, by for example weighing them and checking their height.

Apart from the VFV projects the volunteers are giving a helping a hand where needed and start their own projects. We did a project of removing a tree out of a school classroom. Our social worker volunteers are having talks with the moms in different villages about how to take care of their kids when they are traumatized by the typhoon. In some projects we are working together with other local (volunteer) organizations and as a team we help people clear out their house from all the dirt, rubbish and damage the storm brought with it.

The mothers club is soon going from start again, we got sewing machines donated so the moms can start making schoolbags and other things that they can earn money with by selling them.

In between all this relief work we have a lot of fun doing things with the kids, like a scavenger hunt this weekend.

Everyday VFV volunteers get up excited for the new projects ahead of us, going forward day by day!

Tindog Tacloban

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