Home Missions Charity Charity News An outpouring of love for quake victims

An outpouring of love for quake victims

Saturday, 15 July 2017 10:10 AM | ARTICLE BY | Jamaica Digo
Young volunteers from the Tzu Chi Ormoc Great Love City assist the quake victims in carrying the sacks of rice and Jing Si multipurpose foldable beds from Tzu Chi. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers on July 15 made the long and treacherous journey to reach the evacuation camp in Barangay Gaas. A total of 168 quake-affected families here benefitted from the distribution of 20-kilo sacks of Taiwan rice and Jing Si multipurpose foldable beds.
  • Apart from Tzu Chi, several civic groups also reached out to the evacuees and addressed the quake victims’ problem on water supply, electricity, and household materials with their respective gifts.

Five days have passed since the residents of Barangay Gaas in Ormoc City left their homes due to threats of landslides and aftershocks, but it’s still unclear how long they will have to stay in makeshift tents.

Just like most of the evacuees, Warlito Torrino is doing everything he could to make his family comfortable in their current setup.

On July 15, he was seen repairing the tarpaulin that serves as their temporary roof. “If we use woods [in putting up the tents] we would still need nails, but if we use bamboos we can just knot the tarpaulin,” says Torrino.

“We’re having a hard time because we are not used to this kind of living environment,” he adds.

In their situation, the quake victims can only appreciate the aid from various civic groups. Although their community is far away from town and the road getting there is still unpaved and prone to landslides, they are not forgotten.

Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers on July 15 made the long and treacherous journey to reach the evacuation camp in Barangay Gaas. A total of 168 quake-affected families here benefitted from the distribution of 20-kilo sacks of Taiwan rice and Jing Si multipurpose foldable beds.

The aid was modified according to the number of family members. Families with less than five members received a sack of rice and one unit of Jing Si multipurpose foldable bed, while those with more than five members received two sacks and two units of Jing Si multipurpose foldable beds beds.

Barangay Gaas chairman Marjun Magno lauds Tzu Chi’s effort in bringing back the smiles and reviving the hopes of his calamity-stricken constituents.

“We are very happy because Tzu Chi is very compassionate toward the people. They didn’t come here just to bring aid but to comfort the victims as well, reminding them that this is just a challenge and that we have to move forward,” he says.

Meanwhile, young volunteers from the Great Love City, Tzu Chi’s temporary housing village in Ormoc for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims, pitched in help in the relief activity. Carrying the sacks of rice and Jing Si multipurpose foldable beds for the recipients toward the latter’s tents, gave the young volunteers a peek into the lives of the quake victims.

Rowegine Legaspi shed tears after the experience.

“I grew emotional when I saw their situation here. They don’t have houses anymore, a bed to sleep in, and their food is hard to find,” she says.

Complementing other group’s assistance

Apart from Tzu Chi, several civic groups also reached out to the evacuees on July 15.

Ormoc City councilor Gerry Penserga brought relief goods composed of cooking pans, tumblers, spoons and forks, medicines, chocolate drink, and bread.

“These are our people and they need our help,” says Penserga. “They really need a lot of support especially our sympathy. We want to let them feel that there is somebody thinking of them and there is somebody who is doing his best to help them.”

The Rotary Club of Tacloban City also visited the evacuation camp to donate different types of water filtration technologies imported from the USA.

Mark Hilhorst demonstrated how to use the filtration devices as the villagers curiously gather around him. Lack of potable water supply is one of the many concerns in evacuation camps. In this regard, the water filtration devices can help a lot.

“It cleans out all the protozoa, the E. coli bacteria – everything that causes water-borne diseases, it’ll take out. So they [evacuees] can literally get water from any available source, say, deep well, river, even a mud puddle, rainwater, put it through the filter and at least have a good, safe, clean drinking water to drink,” says Hilhorst.

The absence of electricity in the evacuation camp is what the Rotary Club of Ormoc Bay chapter hoped to address when it donated units of solar lights. As of this writing, the group has already donated over 700 solar lights to all the evacuation centers in Ormoc, following the 6.5-magnitude earthquake.

“A lot of the families here use gas or kerosene lamps to light up the place but those are very dangerous. It may cause fire especially when their tents are so close to each other,” says Rotary Club member Twinkle Chu.

Chu remembers Tzu Chi from the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). She was one of the locals who assisted the group of volunteers upon their arrival in Ormoc.

“We are very grateful to Tzu Chi; since Typhoon Haiyan, how they’ve been helping the city is very inspirational and now after the earthquake Tzu Chi is back here in Ormoc. We are very grateful for that. So we’re just trying to complement each other with the services that we’re doing,” Chu adds.

Although still adjusting to their present situation, the outpouring of love and care from complete strangers warm the hearts of the quake victims, allowing them to become hopeful again.

“We are happy that there are so many people with good hearts coming in to help us in this time that we have been struck by a calamity,” says quake victim Danilo Sanchez.

Last Updated: Saturday, 15 July 2017 10:10 AM

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