Pangasinan student faces tougher problems after Typhoon Lando
MANILA, Philippines - Nine-year-old Joyce is representing her school in a Math competition next month. But after the devastation wrought about by Typhoon Lando, she and her family are suddenly faced with tougher problems to solve.
The 3rd grade student was diligently preparing for the competition when rain and floods swept the houses in her community in Bugallon, Pangasinan. Despite efforts to salvage their belongings, many of their family's clothes, school things, and furniture were washed away - including Joyce's books and review materials, which for her were precious items.
"I really worked hard for that competition - it would have been my first. But now, after the typhoon and flood, we have bigger things to worry about," she laments.
Joyce's mother, Kristine, describes the damage caused by Lando to their homes, “The strong winds and rain destroyed the walls and tore the roof off our house. Most of our clothes and utensils got wet because of the floodwaters that reached chest-deep."
The 34-year-old mother of two said they had to flee their house and go to a nearby church that was turned into an evacuation center. The church housed more than a hundred people, and heavy rains lasted for about two days. Meanwhile, their small village was submerged in floodwater for the next 3 days.
For the families, whose lives depend on farming and fishing, Typhoon Lando was a major catastrophe. "Our livelihood is disrupted; most of the people in Bugallon earn their keep from tilling farmlands and fishing in ponds," Kristine shares.
Pangasinan is one of the provinces hardest hit by Lando, with over 488,400 people displaced. Excessive rains has submerged over 500 hectares of agricultural land in flood, while more than 300 fishponds were damaged in Bugallon alone. The extent of damage has prompted the provincial government to place the whole province of Pangasinan under state of calamity.
Lando left massive devastation in its wake, and is considered the most destructive typhoon to hit the country this year, leaving more than 40 people dead, and damage to agriculture and infrastructure in northern and central Luzon is now 9.8 billion pesos ($213 million).
Mothers are worried about their families and their children. Classes will resume soon - but they have yet to replace school supplies that were swept away by floods. But Joyce remains hopeful that they will recover from this calamity and get back on their feet once more. After all, she still has her Math competition to look forward to.
"I think I still have a good chance of winning," she beams. "I just hope we'll have a good weather on the day of the contest!"
International child-focused organization World Vision has conducted relief efforts in the municipalities of Bugallon, Mangatarem and Mabini in Pangasinan - distributing essential goods and hygiene kits and to over 1,500 families. - Rappler.com
To donate to typhoon survivors, visit World Vision's website: https://www.worldvision.org.ph/lando-relief/donate or call 372-7777.
Fatima Reyes is World Vision's media engagement specialist.