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Tindog, Tacloban: Life after Yolanda

This is Tacloban a month after Yolanda’s wrath. The people are slowly rebuilding their lives amidst the acrid smell of debris, mud and death.

Every day military trucks pass by on the Maharlika highway ferrying survivors. It seems to be the only tangible government effort felt by the people, as basic needs like electricity and water remain uncertain in many areas of Tacloban.

Tent settlements and shanties are sprouting in once-thriving communities. Men, women and children scavenge through the debris for scraps of anything that they could use to eke out a living.

Salvador Carato, 55, of barangay Diit, gathers fallen coconuts to be processed into copra which he would sell at P33 a kilo.”Sayang," he says, "Sa konting tiyaga ay mayroon akong ipapakain sa pamilya ko."

The slaughterhouse area of Diit was hard-hit by the storm; the waters rose 20 feet here, leaving hundreds homeless.

Most Yolanda survivors, like Caratao, have not remained idle but are instead resilient and determined to continue with their lives.

Survivors' tales

“It took blood and tears to ask God to rescue us, “ says Edito Mamita, 49, of Bgy. Anibong. He and a son stayed behind to guard their house when the huge waves struck. “I was pinned down between wooden planks and the waters was rising fast.” He told his son to leave him as the waves were churning violently. He was almost killed, but his son prevailed and rescued him, and both miraculously escaped the storm surge.

The winds struck Bgy. Salvacion like a ferocious hurricane, wiping out houses and trees in its path and rendering almost 700 families homeless.

“There will be no life for us, if we will not stand up,” says kagawad Adelaida Campo, surveying the barren hills surrounding her village.“We should not lose hope. We need to stand up,” she reiterated as she went to thank the Art Relief Mobile Kitchen Team for sharing hot meals with the community.

It was like a normal day as people flocked to the market on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve.  People were busy and goods and food were plentiful. I saw a woman in the crowd buying flowers. There is hope.

And it resides in the people’s will to live.

— BM, GMA News