2009, ONDOY TYPHOON, GREATER MANILA AREA
TZU CHI FOUNDATION, PHILIPPINES' TYPHOON ONDOY RELIEF
The worst flooding in the history of Metro Manila and its nearby provinces happened on September 26, 2009 when typhoon Ondoy unleashed its rage in the country. Even the Tzu Chi Still Thoughts Hall in Quezon City was not spared from the floods brought by the typhoon.
Some Tzu Chi volunteers had also went through awful conditions that most people experienced while Ondoy pummelled the country. However, the volunteers still pushed through in their commitment to relieve the sufferings of their brothers and sisters affected by the deluge.
Tatalon Fire and Flood Relief
During typhoon Ondoy’s rage on September 26, 2009, houses in Barangay Tatalon were destroyed not just by the floods but also by a fire that broke out at around 6:00 in the evening due to faulty electrical wiring.
Hundreds of houses were burned down in the area which is just a house away from the Tzu Chi Recycling Center on R. Familara Street and a few blocks away from the Tzu Chi Still Thoughts Hall in Agno corner Cordillera Streets.
Tzu Chi volunteers temporarily left their flooded homes to meet at the Still Thoughts Hall the next day to discuss the relief to be provided to the fire and flood victims in Tatalon.
Despite the absence of electricity, Tzu Chi volunteers still pushed through in cooking food and preparing the relief items for the residents in Tatalon, while other Tzu Chi volunteers went to survey the area and saw for themselves the devastating effects of the two tragedies that struck them.
The residents narrated that fire trucks were not able to wash the fire out and believe that the floods, which reached higher than their shanties, have just doused the fire.
Some of the eight people who reportedly died during the fire were trapped inside their houses by the floods while the others survived by just going with the current of the floodwaters.
Tzu Chi volunteers immediately held an emergency relief mission at the Tzu Chi Recycling Center. The recycling center, where the abode of the Awel Family is situated, also suffered from high levels of flood. The Awels’ neighbours said that they were able to move to a safe place using the sacks of recyclables stored in the center.
A total of 808 lunch boxes, 600 pieces of bread, 180 packs of old clothes, and 200 pairs of slippers were distributed to the residents who were still dirtied up by the ashes and mud left in their lost houses.
To further their aid to the victims in Barangay Tatalon, Tzu Chi Philippines held a clean-up drive in Kaliraya Street to free the area from heaps of garbage that were blocking the traffic and roads.
A total of 146 Tzu Chi volunteers from the Philippines and Taiwan, youth members and staff joined the clean-up drive that day. The clean-up resumed in the next five days, until Agno Extension was totally cleared from garbage and muck, through the pay loaders and dump trucks rented by the foundation.
Tzu Chi volunteers also staged a relief distribution activity at Dr. Josefa Jara Martinez High School on September 30 for the families who befell victims to the fire on Agno Street extension. A total of 439 families each received 10 kilos of rice, thermal blanket from Taiwan, basic household products, clothes and other personal effects.
Tzu Chi volunteers also distributed coin banks for the residents to fill up and eventually donate for other people who may be in worse situation than theirs.
Master Cheng Yen, Founder of Tzu Chi, instructed the Tzu Chi volunteers to also provide cash assistance to the said victims to help them in the reconstruction of their houses, and in purchasing their other needs such as milk for babies and medicines.
Tzu Chi volunteers first issued cash certificates to the flood and fire victims, which they could claim the following day at the Still Thoughts Hall.
On October 1, a total of 277 families with at most four members were given Php3,000 and 162 families with at least five members each received P5,000 at the Still Thoughts Hall.
Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City Relief
Tzu Chi volunteers survey Barangay Silangan in Quezon City and visit the barangay gym. Half of the gym temporarily houses the evacuees while the other half is occupied by rows of coffins of the typhoon casualties. It is also converted as a vigil area for the families who have lost their loved ones.
Tzu Chi volunteers made way to go back to Brgy. Bagong Silangan and give cash assistance to the families of typhoon casualties. Upon interviews with the relatives, the volunteers learned that each family lost a maximum of eight members in the flood. Tzu Chi volunteers consoled the distressed spirits of the surviving family and handed them the monetary aid. A family with one casualty received P5, 000; those with two to four dead relatives got P10, 000; and those who lost five and more members received P15, 000.
Last September 28, five volunteers of Tzu Chi Foundation went to Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City, one of the areas in Metro Manila reportedly damaged by Typhoon ‘Ondoy,’ to conduct a survey and at the same time to personally assess the situation of the typhoon-stricken residents.
During the survey at the barangay covered court, wherein a number of families were temporarily situated, Tzu Chi volunteers found the remains of 10 people who have died from the tragedies brought by the typhoon; seven of them were elderly and three were children. Tzu Chi volunteers personally extended their condolences to the families who lost loved ones.
Upon their return on October 2, Tzu Chi volunteers gave cash assistance to the surviving families.
Upon interviews with the relatives, the volunteers learned that each family lost a maximum of eight members in the flood. Tzu Chi volunteers consoled the distressed spirits of the surviving family and handed them the monetary aid. A family with one casualty received P5, 000; those with two to four dead relatives got P10, 000; and those who lost five and more members received P15, 000.
Marikina City Relief
The once busy barangay of Nangka, Marikina is now buried under thick mud as Typhoon Ondoy relentlessly battered their area last Saturday, September 26, 2009. There is still no electricity and the supply of potable water was cut off right after the onslaught of the typhoon. The residents have no means of buying, let alone preserving food as their house appliances are not serviceable anymore because of flooding that had reached up to the ceiling of first floor.
As a result, most residents are staying inside the evacuation centers (Nangka Elementary and High School) waiting for Foundations, people from private sectors and from LGUs, to supply them food and clean drinking water, clothes, blanket and bed mats. The remaining residents are fixing their flooded and muddied house little by little hoping that they might be able to move in again as soon as the water dried out and the mud wiped away.
Immediate Aids, boots, meals distribution and Cash-for-work
September 30 – Learning this appalling situation of Marikina residents, the volunteers of Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines headed to Marikina City to see for themselves the damages brought about by Typhoon ‘Ondoy.’ To recall, earlier in the morning volunteers had a brief dialogue with Mayor Marides Fernando about the present condition of the locals of the city.
Four dump trucks and one pay loader also arrived in Balubad Settlement Site in Barangay Nangka for the clean-up operations.
In the early morning of October 1, a group of Tzu Chi volunteers go back to Marikina to survey Barangay Nangka. The volunteers also mobilized a number of workers who are also residents of Balubad Settlement to clean their community from the garbage and mud. These workers shall be compensated with Php 400.00 a day.
The next day, on October 2, Tzu Chi volunteers cooked hot meals for Nangka, Marikina victims. A total of 2, 296 families in Balubad Settlement in Barangay Nangka, Markina, who suffered a sad fate from typhoon ‘Ondoy,’ received hot meals and 1,216 pieces of bread from the Tzu Chi volunteers.
October 3 – Twenty-five Tzu Chi volunteers who woke up early in the morning staged the second hot meal distribution in Barangay Nangka, Marikina. They prepared the instant rice that came all the way from Taiwan. The volunteers then packed the freshly cooked curry-flavoured rice mixed with tasty spices in reusable Tzu Chi plastic bowls.
Tzu Chi volunteers distributed the bowls of rice and sets of stainless spoons and forks to 2, 028 families of Balubad Settlement.
Also within the day, boots were given to the block presidents to be distributed to needy Balubad residents who have been suffering due to the dirty mud that cover their homes and streets.
The following day, Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines held through its 119th medical mission held at the Camacho Covered Court where a total of 1,142 Typhoon ‘Ondoy’ (Ketsana) victims in Barangay Nangka, Marikina City were given free medical services in general medicine, dermatology, pediatrics, ophthalmology and minor surgery. TIMA doctors also conducted house-to-house visits for residents who could not come out of their houses because of either severity of their illness or old age.
On October 5, Tzu Chi mobilized 158 Disaster Relief Workers in Balubad Settlement Site in Brgy.Nangka, Marikina City to start cleaning up the polluted streets of the community. The workers will be paid P380/day for their efforts in cleaning the community.
The next day, Tzu Chi Foundation is on its sixth day of cleanup in Balubad Settlement Site, Barangay Nangka, Marikina City with the aid of 157 workers. While it is only the first day of clean-up in Barangay Malanday. Concurrently, volunteer dentists from Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) Dr. Drenan Uy, Dr. Anna Oliva, Dr. Benito Ledda and Dr. Carol Lam and Dr. Girlie Tiu spearheaded the 38th Mobile Dental Mission in Brgy. Nangka. The clinic, which was also attended by 20 Tzu Chi volunteers and 20 staff, benefited 34 residents with free tooth extraction.
Tzu Chi volunteers also distributed 1,952 pairs of boots to the typhoon victims in Barangay Nangka.
On October 7, Allowances of the workers in Barangay Nangka were also made to Php400 a day.
While on eighth of October, 660 bowls of hot lunch meals and 700 bowls of oatmeal were distributed to the Cash-for-work residents of Barangay Nangka.
On October 9, Tzu Chi added 30 more workers to help clean Nangka National High School which mud has completely covered. Tzu Chi volunteers also gave the NHS teachers and principal hot meals for lunch.
Clean-Up, Heavy Equipment and Cash Assistance
About 1,700 people from different walks of life lent their helping hands for Tzu Chi Foundation’s clean-up activity on October 10 benefiting thousands of residents in Balubad Settlement Site in Barangay Nangka, Marikina City.
More than 100 residents from Dreamland in Rosario, Cavite; about 40 staff from YANA Chemodities Incorporated; workers from John Vincent Construction Company; volunteer fire fighters from Manila and Marikina; 93 students from Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) Nagtahan branch; long-term beneficiaries of Tzu Chi Foundation; together with Tzu Chi volunteers, youth members and scholars; 690 Tzu Chi Disaster Relief Workers in Balubad and 100 Malanday workers helped cleaning Balubad Settlement.
Tzu Chi volunteers and TIMA volunteer doctors also conducted house-to-house medical visits and distribution of hot meals.
On October 11, a total of 1,862 more workers were mobilized by Tzu Chi for a more extensive clean-up in Balubad Settlement Site, as it was Master Cheng Yen’s fervent wish to hasten up the clean-up to avoid the spread of an epidemic. The cleaning operations were also extended to the streets of Camacho, Bayabas and Balubad.
A group of Tzu Chi volunteers also conducted a survey in Nangka Covered Court in preparation for relief distribution to more than a hundred families whose homes were totally washed-out.
On the following day, the reopening of classes in Nangka High School took place early in the morning with majority of students not wearing their school uniforms because the floods took their clothes away. During lunch, relief stubs and meal distributions to 113 families took place in Nangka Covered Court.
October 13, Nangka Relief Distribution to 118 families in Nangka Elementary School. These families have completely lost their homes to the floods. They each received Php3, 000 monetary aid, 10-kilo sack of rice, thermal blanket from Taiwan, sleeping mat, cooking pot and clothes.
A medical station was installed inside Barangay Nangka to give immediate response to the medical needs of the residents. Anti-tetanus injections were also provided.
The next day, the fitting of school uniforms for Nangka High School students took place.
School Supplies Distribution and the conclusion of rehabilitation program in Nangka
On October 16, 1, 639 students of Nangka High School received a brand new Tzu Chi bag, nine composition notebooks, three ball pens, one pencil and one pad of intermediate paper, and a chocolate drink handed by 30 Tzu Chi volunteers from the Philippines and Taiwan.
The final day of cleaning operations in Barangay Nangka happened on October 18.
On October 20, Tzu Chi gathered the 500 group leaders from Barangay Tumana and 4, 718 workers from Barangay Nangka at Twinville Subdivision Covered Court in Barangay Nangka to offer a sincere prayer and listen to the stories of Master Cheng Yen. The Tumana locals had the chance to donate their contributions to Tzu Chi through the coin cans passed amongst them. While the Nangka residents happily adopted coin cans from Tzu Chi.
The following day, a total of 5,225 workers from Barangay Tumana went to Twinville Subdivision Covered Court, Barangay Nangka, to offer their prayers and lend their ears to the Tzu Chi volunteers’ sharing and to the stories from Master Cheng Yen.
On October 27, Tzu Chi distributed school supplies to remaining 387 students of Nangka High School.
And on November 3, a free mobile dental service was held in Balubad Settlement Site in Barangay Nangka, Marikina City.
On October 3, Tzu Chi volunteers went to Malanday, Marikina to distribute hot curry-flavored instant rice from Taiwan. It benefited 2, 617 families and a total of 720 pieces of bread were also distributed to the children.
On the fifth of October, Tzu Chi volunteers surveyed Barangay Malanday in Marikina and set a meeting with its Chairman Joseph Briones with regard to the cleaning of his area of jurisdiction through the cash-for work program of the Tzu Chi Foundation. Through the guidance and blessings of Master Cheng Yen, the cash-for-work program would pay the residents P380/day for cleaning their own place.
The following day, Malanday residents started their cleaning mission in their area.
On October 7, Tzu Chi Foundation hired 274 disaster relief workers in Barangay Malanday, Marikina City to perform clearing operations in the community that has loads of garbage and mud blocking every pathway.
Fourteen Tzu Chi volunteers prepared to cook and distribute hot meals to the workers and some other residents that day. With the help of 20 female workers from the barangay, Tzu Chi volunteers were able to find a spot in front of Malanday National High School (formerly Concepcion High School) where they could build a makeshift kitchen to cook the curry-flavoured instant rice donated by Tzu Chi Taiwan. A total of 323 bowls of instant rice from Taiwan were distributed.
On October 11, Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines staged its 120th medical mission held at the Malanday National High School. With the efforts of 648 volunteers and staff from Tzu Chi Foundation and other affiliate organizations like the Sisters of Mary School; 24 volunteer doctors and nurses from the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) and other local hospitals, the medical mission had benefited a total of 552 patients needing consultation and treatment in the fields of surgery (20), general medicine (125), pediatrics (306) and dermatology (101).
Fifty staff of Mitsukoshi Motors Philippines and 300 students of Sisters of Mary Boystown also participated in the foundation’s clean-up drive in Barangay Malanday.
October 13, a medical station was installed inside Barangay Malanday to give immediate response to the medical needs of the residents. Anti-tetanus injections were also provided.
On October 14, Tzu Chi staged clean-up mission in Malanday National High School.
After twelve days of community cleaning, on October 17, Barangay Malanday saw the improvement in their area. Tzu Chi volunteers decided that it is their final day in Barangay Malanday rehabilitation program.
On the twenty-fifth of October, Tzu Chi volunteers gathered together to prepare the school supplies to be distributed in Malanday National High School.
On October 26, Tzu Chi distributed school supplies for students of Malanday National High School. A total of 842 first year and second year students received a water proof Tzu Chi backpack contained with 10 spiral Tzu Chi notebooks, three ball pens, two pads of intermediate paper, one booklet of Still Thoughts aphorisms and one Tzu Chi Express newsletter.
TIMA volunteer dentists of Tzu Chi Foundation went to Barangay Malanday to give free dental services to the residents on October 27.
Concurrently, Tzu Chi volunteers conducted school supplies distribution in MNHS. A total of 1018 third year and fourth year students, including a number of freshmen were given 10 spiral Tzu Chi notebooks, three ball pens, two pads of intermediate paper, one booklet of Still Thoughts aphorisms and one Tzu Chi Express newsletter. The third year and first year students received a waterproof Tzu Chi backpack while the fourth year students got Tzu Chi string bags.
On October 8, Tzu Chi volunteers surveyed Barangay Tumana in Marikina to assess what kind of help is needed by its residents. They also surveyed the roads, streets and condition of residents’ homes to find out how they could help in the rehabilitation of the area.
On October 13, a medical station was installed inside Barangay Tumana to give immediate response to the medical needs of the residents. Anti-tetanus injections were also provided.
Tzu Chi started cash-for-work program in Barangay Tumana on October 14.
October 15, residents helped each other in cleaning up Muslim Mosque in Barangay Tumana.
Brgy. Tumana Cleanup Drive on October 17, with help from different groups: 105 students of far Eastern University (FEU)-East Asia College; 17 residents of Barangay Tatalon, Quezon City who have also been victimized by the typhoon and a fire; 36 Tzu Chi Filipino volunteers and long-term beneficiaries from Barangay Tatalon; 30 staff members from YANA Chemodities Incorporated; and Tzu Chi volunteers
On October 18, 210 residents of Dreamland and an estimate of 2, 000 Nangka workers joined the residents of Barangay Tumana with their cleaning efforts. And before the end of the day, after four continuous days of cleaning, Tzu Chi finally decided that this is their final day in Barangay Tumana rehabilitation program.
Lessons after the storm
The plight of Marikina in their post-Ondoy rehabilitation had been very challenging. Tzu Chi Foundation, who committed their time and efforts in helping the residents survive their tough situation, was moved by their courage and endurance.
Two genuine Filipino traits have splendidly unfolded during the crisis, resilience and bayanihan spirit. These qualities paved the way for faster recovery of their place because these have seen them through the tough times.
Moreover, their unwavering faith that this tragedy shall come to pass inspired Tzu Chi volunteers to push on with their commitment of helping Marikina with their post-Ondoy plight.