Home Special Report Disaster Response for Typhoon Yolanda Bringing a glint of hope to families in Tanauan

Bringing a glint of hope to families in Tanauan

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 01:1 AM
To hasten the distribution of relief cards, a Tzu Chi volunteer requests the residents to line up properly. The upcoming relief activity in Tanauan municipality is a chance for the residents to have a deeper understating of Tzu Chi’s work and beginnings. 【Photo by Nyanza Nakar】

Story Highlights

  • Fourteen barangays in Tanauan municipality will be given aid by Tzu Chi Foundation come January 20. It is expected that 6,600 families will benefit from the said activity.
  • It has been two months since the super typhoon struck and many residents have yet to resume their lives –especially in Tanauan municipality. With the desire to ease the suffering of thousands of families, another batch of relief activities will be held.

Bearing to mind that cultural or political differences will never be a hindrance in extending help, Tzu Chi Foundation goes to severely affected communities to provide much-needed help and hope to their fellowmen.

With the guidance of Master Cheng Yen, the organization has already bestowed help to more than 30,000 families who were affected by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Ormoc and Tacloban Cities and other municipalities of Leyte.

Aside from this, the organization has also conducted medical missions, hot meals and clean drinking water distribution, and a cash-for-work program. These rehabilitation efforts were made possible thanks to the concerted hard work of Tzu Chi volunteers worldwide.

“I saw how Tzu Chi helps whole heartedly. The volunteers are the ones who personally visit our area to give help. Their assistance is priceless and like no other,” says 37-year-old Willard delos Santos.

Delos Santos is a driver for Duptours, a transport company. Tzu Chi rented vehicles from the company and has assigned delos Santos as one of the drivers.

Aside from performing his designated work, he also volunteers to help out in the disaster sites.

“Instead of idling or wasting time, I chose to help them. I’m proud to be part of Tzu Chi Foundation because I’m able to help my fellowmen who are affected by the typhoon,” he adds.

His dedication at work and volunteering for the organization gained praises from the Tzu Chi volunteers.

“After driving the volunteers to their designated areas, he always asks if he can help. He voluntarily helps and doesn’t need to be commanded,” says Monica Sy – a passenger of delos Reyes.

“I allot my time for Tzu Chi Foundation because of what happened to Tacloban. I set aside home priorities because I can still do that on other times or when I don’t work,” delos Santos ends. He also postponed the construction of his house in Maducao, -a two-hour ride from Tacloban City- in order to provide services for the Buddhist group.

One of the tasks he performed is organizing the residents during the stub distribution in Bislig, Tanauan last January 14. This is in preparation for the cash aid distribution happening on January 20.

On the other hand, 43-year-old Noel Gobenciong from Bislig is overjoyed upon receiving claim stub for his family.

“I am thankful that you came here and I believe that you can unite families again and rebuild our lives,” he mentions.

At present, he still feels hurt because his family members are far apart from each other. Noel’s spouse and youngest child still lives with his mother while his other two children is still with his sister.

“It is painful to think that we are all separated. We cannot return our lives to normal just yet because we don’t have any jobs,” Gobenciong says.

Even the family of Romeo Tan is expected to receive help from the organization. He is truly happy that his family is one of the prospective beneficiaries after hearing from the radio that Tzu Chi is doing a lot in helping Tacloban City.

“We are only relying from the relief aid given to us and that is why we are able to get through day by day. If not for that, we honestly don’t know how we will ever recover given that we don’t have jobs yet. One of our biggest hopes right now is receiving help from Tzu Chi,” he shares. He earns as a truck helper and fixing vehicles to support his family.

To survive on a daily basis days after Yolanda, he admitted that he was among those who looted in grocery stores to feed his family.

“I plan to get food, but there was nothing left. So I looted a bed, dress rings, medicines, and a chair. I only got what we need,” he admits.

Two months after typhoon Yolanda brought havoc, they are still unable to rebuild their house because of lack of employment opportunities. Currently, the whole family stays in a makeshift tent that was donated by a private sector.

Another beneficiary, is Noel Alicer who was not aware of the assistance given to him by the organization but nevertheless, wholeheartedly accepted it.

In an interview, he admitted that he is still in pain because of what happened to his parents and in-laws. Their bodies were buried in the mass grave that was made in purok I Cabuynan.

“It pains me to realize that my family was gone in an instant. Our lives have not yet returned to normal because we are left with absolutely nothing,” he ends.

The Tzu Chi volunteers were divided into four groups and distributed the relief stubs to the residents coming from 14 barangays in Tanauan. An estimate of 6,600 residents is expected to arrive in the relief activities that will happen on January 20.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 January 2014 01:1 AM

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