Survivors plant trees to mark 2nd year of Sendong tragedy

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013


AMID difficulties experienced in relocation sites, survivors of Tropical Storm Sendong here commemorated the second year of its tragic loss through rehabilitation of the environment.

Around 40 survivors endured the heat of the morning sun in Sitio Biasong, Barangay Macasandig, to plant around 200 Mahogany trees to remember the devastation caused by the killer storm two years ago.

“Of course we remember what happened, but we go beyond remembering through identifying the cause of the tragedy,” said Julieta Casinillo, a member of Survivors of Sendong (SOS) under Bulig Alang sa Mindanao (Balsa-Mindanao).

READ: 'Sendong' leaves 440 dead

Rehabilitate

Casinillo said: “Through planting of trees we rehabilitate the environment from the damage brought by ceaseless logging–legal or illegal–that destroys Mother Nature.”

She said the trees they planted are for the future generations, and she hopes that it would soon grow into full-grown trees so they can help prevent floods.

While complaining about the aches she felt on her back and waist, she said: “I planted 20 trees today, and on the last tree I stumbled on a bulge and lost my balance.”

Francisco Pagayaman, chair of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap–Northern Mindanao (Kadamay-NorMin), said it was the second wave of Balsa-Mindanao to rehabilitate the area.

On the first wave the group planted bamboo trees near Sitio Cala-Cala also in Barangay Macasandig.

“Through this (tree planting) we can gradually bring Mother Nature back to its original state,” Pagayaman said.

‘We need water’

While planting trees, Jason Montero told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that on the relocation site a lot of survivors are clamoring for adequate water supply.

Montero is also a member of SOS who is presently living at the second phase of Barangay Indahag resettlement.

“Since we started living here, the faucets in blocks 10 to 25 used to give clean water only four times,” he said expressing his disappointment.

However, he added that from blocks 1 to 10 there is ample water for around two hours in a day during mornings.

“Sometimes water would reach us but it’s murky,” said Montero.

Sickly

“Almost every day, water is the problem of around 150 households in this relocation site,” Montero said.

Montero said his wife is sickly and she could not bear to walk more than 500 meters to fetch water to get their three children through the day.

“I could not help her because I go to work at 6:30 a.m. and the water will start flowing around 7 a.m.,” he said adding that his ailing wife will have to go back and forth 10 times in a day.

He said the water his wife gets is not enough for bathing and washing clothes.

But during Sundays, Montero said he is in-charge of fetching water using a bigger container for their needs.

Meanwhile, Pagayaman called for the local government units especially the city mayor to act immediately on the problems the survivors are facing.

“Houses should be given to survivors who are not relocated yet and livelihood for them too. And it should be given freely,” Pagayaman said.

He added that there are some relocation sites that need urgent response from the government.

Pagayaman said the relocation site in Macapaya village in Barangay Camaman-an needs water and electricity.

Apart from that, the survivors in the said relocation site complained on the difficulty of their means of transportation.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 18, 2013.

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