Tough luck: Vivian, choppers and a mad scramble
MANILA, Philippines — The Margallo family is just one of over 12,000 families in Palo, Leyte, who lost their homes to monster typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Vivian, her husband, 5 children, and their livestock survived the strongest typhoon ever recorded in the world. But it's been harder to deal with its aftermath.
In a town where at least a thousand died and nearly 5,000 reported various injuries, they have been lucky. They would probably die of something else, however. Thus, on Thursday, November 21, Vivian and her 5 children boarded a military cargo plane that brought them to Villamor airbase in Pasay City.
"Pagutom na nang pagutom sa amin. Walang dumadating na reilef. Kung mayroon man, ito 'yung hinahagis ng helicopter. Siyempre gutom ang tao. Agawan. Hindi kami nakakakuha," she told Rappler. She said they will live with relatives here in the meantime. (We've grown hungry. We have not received any relief goods. If there were, those were the ones dropped by helicopters, which always caused a mad scramble. We always failed to get any.)
"Nagdesisyon kami kasi baka magutom ang mga maliit ko," she added. Her youngest daughter is 3 years old. (We decided to leave because the children might starve.)
In the early days after the typhoon, the Margallo family survived on the supply they had bought before the typhoon. Vivian sundried the uncooked rice that got soaked because of the storm. When they ran out of rice, they ate sweet potatoes. When that ran out, too, they survived on coconuts.
A carabao and a future
They have pigs and a carabao, but they're not meant for the dining table. Vivian's husband hopes to sell some of the pigs; he and the carabao will work on the field again soon. Her husband stayed in Palo precisely to watch over them. "Siya ang magbabantay muna ng baboy at kalabaw. Baka nakawin. Uso ngayon sa Leyte ang nakawan ng mga hayop at kung ano ang natira. Talagang gutom na sa amin," Vivian said.
Commerce is returning to Palo, Leyte. There's food to buy but the Margallos don't have money.
From Villamor airbase, Vivian and her chidren, along with about 2,000 other typhoon survivors, were brought to Camp Aguinaldo Thursday afternoon, headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (READ: Catfight over Yolanda?)
Vivian said the plan is to spend Christmas in Manila and seek help from relatives so they could build a new home. "Babalik kami sa amin. Kung may mahingan ako dito ng tulong para kahit kubo lang basta hindi na tumutulo,'" she said.
While they waited for a relative to pick them up, a volunteer priest approached them and they knelt in prayer. — Rappler.com