#LandoPH: Hitting close to home
I asked my dad to drive for me as I gather resources before typhoon Lando (Koppu) hits land. He immediately agreed and suggested that we take the route where our rice field, which should be ready for harvest next week, is located. As we approached the area, I saw him drew a sigh of sadness. Tomorrow, or the day after, when the typhoon is gone, the rows of rice stalks ready for harvest will be flattened to the ground, muddied and inundated by heavy rains.
"If the typhoon will stay for two more days after it makes landfall, farmers will have big losses," he said. Most farmers borrow money for farm inputs. Poor harvest means unpaid debts.
It was starting to rain hard when I saw 74-year old Luis in one of the rice fields, harvesting what he can before Koppu leaves him with nothing.
"I hope the typhoon won't stay for long. Things are already hard for us, farmers. Another blow will be too much," he explained.
As the heavy rain started to pour. I thought Luis will walk with me out of the field but he stayed. He said there's more he can get. I didn't know what else to say. I saw in him the grief of other farmers, the loss that my father was also feeling. I saw in his wrinkled-face the months of hard work which probably won't pay off. It was heart breaking.
I've been deployed to several emergency responses, including typhoon Haiyan. I was in Tacloban when typhoon Hagupit threatened the Visayas. I interviewed people before and after a typhoon – doing my best to tell their stories as truthfully as I can. Doing the work now, in my own province, should not be any different. But I’m wrong. It’s harder. More painful. Maybe because I know the people, I speak their language, I share with them a special connection. Like that of my dad. Like that of Luis. While driving off, I kept staring at the vast rice field with him in the middle, soaked by the rain.
It will be a long night here in North Luzon as we wait for Koppu’s landfall. The strong winds and torrential rains continue to bring anxiety to most farmers. As I write this, my parents are already talking about crop insurance and other possibilities that at least some of the rice plants will be salvaged. But more than the crops and livestock, I hope that no life will be lost in the coming days. – Rappler.com
Joy Maluyo is a communications officer of World Vision.
World Vision has been working with 55 barangays in five towns in the province of Isabela for several years now. World Vision staff are on alert, ready to respond to Typhoon Koppu and its possible impact in communities in northern Luzon and support government efforts if needed.