‘Yolanda’ survivors find homes in ruins again

9:53 pm | Sunday, December 7th, 2014
A man is seen on top of his damaged house in Tacloban City on Sunday. AFP

A man is seen on top of his damaged house in Tacloban City on Sunday. AFP

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — A year after losing all their belongings to one of the world’s strongest storms, thousands of weary people in the Philippines emerged from evacuation shelters on Sunday to find their homes again in ruins.

Typhoon “Ruby” (international name Hagupit) hit the central Philippines late on Saturday with gusts of 210 kilometers an hour, destroying flimsy houses, tearing roofs off others, knocking down power poles and smashing bridges.

During a terrifying night, it cut across Tacloban City and dozens of other communities that were only just starting to recover from last year’s catastrophic Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan).

“We were on edge the entire night because the winds were so strong. We could see roofs flying,” 39-year-old peanut vendor and Yolanda survivor Vicente Roquero told AFP at an evacuation centre in Tacloban on Leyte island.

Yolanda’s monster winds and tsunami-like storm surges claimed more than 7,350 lives, and left more than one million people on central Philippine islands in need of new and safe homes.

Ruby, which was due to take three days to cut across the Philippines, did not generate the massive storm surges that claimed so many lives last year in the central Philippines.

Mass evacuations before it arrived also helped to ensure there was no repeat of the mass casualties in the areas devastated by Yolanda.

“There is a collective sigh of relief,” Jerry Yaokasin, vice mayor of Tacloban, a city of 220,000 people that was one of the worst-hit last year, told AFP

“The initial assessment is that there are no casualties. We were better prepared… up to 50,000 people were packed in evacuation centers.”

But many people — who have since Yolanda lived in tents, temporary shelters and shanty homes — again faced the trauma of losing their homes.

“The temporary houses destroyed by the typhoon is our big problem right now… our biggest challenge is how to provide for those who were displaced because of that,” Yaokasin said.

After losing her coastal shanty home to the storm surges of Yolanda, Maria Anna Alvarez, 34, had been barely surviving — living with a dozen other relatives on the outskirts of Tacloban in a tent provided by an aid agency.

She returned from an evacuation center on Sunday morning to see the tent, and those of 300 other families living nearby, destroyed.

“We were hoping for a merry Christmas… but it looks like that wish won’t come true,” Alvarez said.

“Nothing was left of our place, but we have no choice but to be resilient… the important thing is we’re alive.”

Tereso Sano, a 42-year-old unemployed driver, said he would start rebuilding the home nearby he shared with seven others as soon as the winds subsided.

“It’s a difficult feeling, knowing you don’t have a roof above your head,” Sano told AFP.

RELATED STORIES

Yolanda victims still living in tents in Tacloban evacuated

‘Ruby’ to make 3rd landfall on Sibuyan Island early Monday


Tags: Leyte , Natural Disasters , Super Typhoon Yolanda , Tacloban City , Typhoon Hagupit , Typhoon Ruby , Weather

Related Stories:

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

Copyright 2012 INQUIRER.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate: c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94