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Despite the distance, Tzu Chi volunteers from Manila and Cebu have traveled to Bohol from October 19 to 21 to conduct a survey of the disaster sites and provide immediate relief assistance to a total of 1,090 families.


Cash assistance and thermal blankets have been provided to the residents of Antequera, Maribojoc, Loon, and Sagbayan. These municipalities are identified to have suffered immensely from the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas on October 15.


During a survey on October 19, Tzu Chi volunteers have witnessed the immeasurable damage to structures and properties in the province. The sight of collapsed houses and buildings, fallen bridges, and wrecked mountainsides has turned Bohol from one of the country’s top tourist destinations to a disaster site.


First district representative Rene Relampagos relates that due to broken roads and bridges, sending aid to remote communities has been truly difficult. This problem directly affects the victims who currently take shelter in makeshift tents. Aftershocks are also being felt repeatedly in the area.


As of this writing, a total of 190 people have been confirmed dead due to the earthquake. Fifty-four of these are from Loon, but the number of fatalities increases every day as search and rescue operations continue.


To express their condolences and help them start anew, Tzu Chi volunteers have given out funeral assistance to nine families who have lost their loved ones due to the earthquake.


Rodel Barace, a resident of Antequera, did not expect that he would lose four of his family members—mother, father, sister, and youngest son—from a deadly earthquake. The ground from where they live split open and ate their house whole.


If not for the earthquake, his son, Shame Jyle, would have turned six years old on October 20. On that day, Tzu Chi volunteers have reached their community and found Barace posting a birthday greeting on the wall. He has also prepared balloons and even bought the clothes that his son wished for his special day.


“It’s very painful. I haven’t even got the chance to thank or return the good things that my parents have done for me. It would be very difficult to start again,” he says. Despite the tragedy that happened to his family, Barace was touched by the generosity of people and organizations helping them.


“Thank you for commiserating with us in this unfortunate time,” he adds.


Volunteer doctors from Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) have also facilitated a medical mission, where a total of 135 patients from Barangay Viga and Barangay Poblacion in Antequera have been given healthcare services. Free medicines have been distributed and minor surgeries have been done to seven patients.


Viga is one of the poor communities in Antequera situated in an isolated area, which is bordered by the mountains. It takes a walk of nearly one kilometer from the main road before one can reach it.


One of the patients is 11-year-old Brixil Taray, who acquired head injury after being hit by hollow blocks during the earthquake. Just minutes after the strongest tremor hit their community, roads were destroyed, no transportation means were available, and health care centers were no longer accessible.


Taray sustained a three-inch wound in the right part of his head that needed to be sewn up. TIMA doctor Robert Sy cleaned the wound and did the operation to avoid infection.


Taray’s guardian, Grace, thanks the volunteers for helping them. “They are the only group who was able to reach our place and we are very thankful. Despite the distance, they came here to offer help,” she says.


During the relief activity, Tzu Chi volunteers have encouraged the residents not to keep grudges over the calamity that befell them but keep their faith and move forward. Life lessons, inspirational stories, and motivation have also been shared with the residents. A solemn prayer led by the volunteers has touched the hearts of the residents.


Moved by the goodwill and kindness of the Tzu Chi volunteers, Juliet Sabidor also sends her endless gratitude to the Buddhist group. “We appreciate your help so much because even though we are different in race, you have assisted us in so many ways.”


Other teams of Tzu Chi volunteers have surveyed several schools destroyed by the earthquake. By doing this, the foundation will be able to assess what kind of assistance can be provided for the benefit of local students.



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Tzu Chi Philippines

Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines - Jing Si Hall

76 Cordillera cor. Agno Street, Barangay Dona Josefa,
Quezon City, 1800 Philippines

(632) 8732-0001 & (632) 8732-0002

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