Tanauan: Cry for food, aid

Patricia Evangelista

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Very few have the energy for anger. They ask why food is in Tacloban, not here.

BROKEN. Residents of Tanauan, Leyte, say they need more food and aid. All photos by Jake Verzosa

TANAUAN, Leyte – It’s been a week since Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) flattened this town and killed many of its residents. In the villages young men stand at the side of the road, hailing every bus or car or motorcycle that passes by. They ask for word to be sent to sisters in Riyadh, or cousins in Cavite. We’re still alive, they say.

Helicopters fly overhead. There are flags on collapsed roofs. Every building is broken, every sign bent.

The people are tired. Very few have the energy for anger. They ask why food is in Tacloban, why international aid is in Manila, and why, until today, are there bodies on the ground?

The men walk shirtless, legs grimy from mud. One man trudges along with a backpack. He is going to Cebu, he says, though he is not sure how.

Some talk about luck, or God, or fate. Nobody died, said a young man with his arm around his mother. Everyone died, said another young man, while holding on to his father, the only survivor. One boy spoke of relief items that came from a helicopter. There was enough for forty families. Three hundred were in line. They need policemen, he said. They need soldiers to marshal the people, so that the desperate wouldn;t3 go home empty-handed. 

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman arrived here Friday morning, November 15 and distributed food and other relief items at a gas station in Barangay San Roque. Representatives said food is no longer a problem. Everyone has received aid twice.

But the nearby village of Sto Niño complain it isn’t enough. The packages are small, many have not received at all. They ask for more than food. Light, so that they can stand watch at night against looters. Water, vitamins, medication, a crew to pick up the dead under the debris. They say they don’t ask for much.

Stop counting the dead, says one woman. The living need to live. – Rappler.com

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