Just returning from 24 hours touring Estancia, one of the areas gravely affected by Typhoon Yolanda and my heart is breaking with the devastation I have seen and pain that has been shared interviewing people. 98% of the community has been affected and the long term implications are overwhelming. The winds were so strong that trees have been ripped apart or out of the ground by the roots, blocked roads is making travel difficult, if your vehicle survived. Homes have had the second story ripped off, or they have been flattened completely. The elementary school roof is gone and the university has been destroyed with battered windows, roof missing, collapsed gym and severe flooding so classes are cancelled until January, but the students residence is merely a frame so also needs to be rebuild.
I interviewed a 74 year old couple who with their 11 children have lived their whole lives here. It's "home" and all they have so they will rebuild, but they can't afford nails, and the only food (rice and noodles) they've received came from children who live further away. For some, closer to the center of town, food relief packages are beginning to arrive but it's been over a week!
Jeana's husband of over 22 years worked on the boats and was one of 50 crew members when his boat capsized. He is yet to be found, dead or alive, leaving her to support 4 children between 4 (on her lap) and 22 years old. She just wants them to be able to finish school so they can get jobs, but their schools (and part jobs earning their tuition) are on hold until all is rebuilt. And without a body, Jeana cannot get any financial assistance. The second story of her home is gone, and she is numb with despair.
Electrical wires hang on snapped poles or on the ground and they may not have any service for months yet to come. This is partly because of a massive oil spill from a barge thrown onto the land, wiping out homes and families as it also spilled it's contents. It will take a year, one plastic container at a time to clean it up.The needs are for food, clothes, construction supplies and advocacy that calls on the government here to ensure that the needs of all are being addressed, from the baby on the beach to the old man hiding under his table. The TV is running a local fund-raising campaign calling on those who have, and whose homes were spared because they live further away, to share from their abundance with a love for all humanity. They just mentioned that the Canadian Government is giving matching dollars and are very impressed. Can WE PLEASE help too?