Isolated Peñablanca town needs housing, relief goods

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines – Jaydee Danao lived in Cabasan, Peñablanca town, Cagayan for more than a decade, but she did not expect the day she would see her house in ruins after a typhoon.

Eleven years na kaming nakatira [dito], pero ngayon lang namin naranasan ‘yung lakas ng bagyo... Maraming bagyo, ‘di nagalaw ‘yung bahay namin eh,” Danao told Rappler on Saturday, October 22, 3 days after Typhoon Lawin (international name: Haima) roared through the Cagayan Valley and other northern Luzon regions.

(We have been living here for 11 years, but this is the first time for us to experience a typhoon this strong. The past typhoons did not touch our house.)

Danao and her husband Felipe are corn farmers. The couple and their 6 children fled to a neighbor’s house at the height of the typhoon.  

When they returned, their house had been blown away, with their wet furniture and clothes scattered all over the ground. 

NOTHING LEFT. The Danao family was unable to save anything from their house after the typhoon. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

NOTHING LEFT. The Danao family was unable to save anything from their house after the typhoon.

Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Lumipad nga po. Tsaka ‘yung yero, malayo na, kaya mukhang kawawa naman kami dito. Wala kami [naisalba] sa mga gamit namin. Basang-basa,” said Danao.

(Our house flew. The roof went far, so we look helpless here. We were not able to save any of our things. They’re all wet.) 

Like several families in Cabasan, the Danaos had been spending the past hours building a temporary shelter. 

Parang temporary lang para may tulugan ‘yung mga anak ko, kasi kawawa naman kasi kung diyan lang kami sa lupa matutulog (It’s just a temporary shelter for my children, so they won’t need to sleep on the soil),” Danao said.  

STAYING PUT. Felipe and Jaydee Danao prefer building their own shelter than staying in an evacuation center. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

STAYING PUT. Felipe and Jaydee Danao prefer building their own shelter than staying in an evacuation center.

Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Thirteen barangays in Peñablanca remain isolated after Lawin. 

The bridge connecting Kabbo and Cabasan barangays was broken, prompting local officials and the Search and Rescue Unit Foundation, in coordination with the Philippine Star, to help residents and their supplies cross the river.

Rescuers would need to ride a rescue boat and traverse muddy roads aboard a motorcycle or tricycle to reach the isolated barangay.

Asked if relief aid has been sent to the Cabasan residents, Danao replied: “Wala pa naman (None yet)."

Need solar lamps

Mayor Washington Taguinod was able to lead clearing operations in the town by early Saturday morning only. 

Apart from the isolated areas, Vice Mayor Marilyn Taguinod said they had already distributed relief goods to the rest of the town. But they need more help. 

Ang talagang problema namin is kung paano namin maayos muli ‘yung mga bahay na talagang nagiba (Our real problem here is how the houses that were totally damaged would be rebuilt),” Taguinod said, who expressed relief that her town had recorded zero casualties.  

HELP NEEDED. Taguinod makes a call for more donations in Peu00c3u00b1ablanca town. Photo by Rappler

HELP NEEDED. Taguinod makes a call for more donations in Peu00c3u00b1ablanca town.

Photo by Rappler

She estimated the loss of electricity, however, to last for several months as well.

Kung meron sana nung mga solar lamp na katulad ng nakikita namin sa Typhoon Yolanda, nung nakaraan na ano, siguro malaking tulong para doon sa mga tao (If we can get some of the solar lamps like the ones they distributed during Typhoon Yolanda, that would be a big help to our people),” added the vice mayor.  

Lawin hit coastal towns facing the Pacific Ocean with sustained winds of 225 kilometers (140 miles) an hour, and wind gusts of up to 315 kilometers on Wednesday evening.  

It weakened overnight as it passed through giant mountain ranges and was out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility by 5 pm Thursday. 

According to provincial tallies, Lawin killed at least 8 in the Cordillera Administrative Region and 4 from Cagayan. But the latest National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council situation report puts the number of deaths nationwide at 9, pending confirmation of reports.

Lawin left a path of destruction in its wake, destroying billions worth of infrastructure and agriculture. A state of calamity has already been declared in Kalinga and Ilocos Norte.

Cagayan Governor Manual Mamba plans to declare a state of calamity for his province as well. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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