Quake victims struggle to cope with loss-A A +A
Saturday, February 18, 2012
NEGROS ORIENTAL -- Each day, some residents of Barangay Solonggon, La Libertad in Negros Oriental have to use their survival instincts, almost two weeks since a powerful quake hit their community.
To beat starvation, the family of Rosa Rebosquillo, 47, dug up a supply of root crops from their land.
With potable water still scarce, their only option was to boil water from a clean river. They have been doing this for the last 13 days and have remained in good condition.
“Lain kaayo nga mamatay ka tungod sa gutom. Samtang buhi pa, mangita gyud ug paagi (We don’t want to die of hunger. While we’re alive, we’ll keep looking for ways to sustain ourselves),” Rebosquillo told Sun.Star Cebu.
Some of her neighbors resorted to using coconut juice. Some, having lost all their pans, now cook in recycled sardine cans.
After the 6.9-magnitude earthquake last February 6 that caused great havoc in their town, some of them have to look for new ways to avoid sleeping on an empty stomach.
But some evacuees, however, are pulling each other apart instead of helping everyone get better.
There were reports of lost farm animals, relief goods, clothes and cooking utensils in evacuation sites.
“Naigo pa sa trahedya, tiwasan pa gyud (They’re making the tragedy worse),” 49-year-old Anita Aurillo said. She lost 10 hens last Sunday night. She recalled feeding them that morning.
“Makahunahuna pa gyud ug buhat ang uban ug bati. Wala uroy sila mahadlok sa Ginoo (Some people still do devious things. Don’t they fear God?)” she said.
In relief operation centers, some residents reported disorder while they were trying to get their supply.
Aurillo said her feet were stepped on and her hair pulled. She also believes politics sometimes gets in the way in the distribution of food.
This remains a common scene: women, men, children and elderly people lined up along the road with empty water containers, all appealing for help.
A number of signs written on wood and paper read “SOS” and “Tabangi mi (Help us)”.
Fire trucks from cities and towns in the neighboring province of Negros Occidental have brought water, but many containers remained empty.
People have nowhere to go to buy food, since their livelihood has been paralyzed. Some stores opened but were swamped by buyers.
As of Friday, the number of casualties in Negros Oriental from the earthquake rose to 50.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) recorded 50 fatalities that included 24 in Guilhungan, nine in Jimalalud, three in Tayasan, one in Bindoy, two in Manjuyod, two in Ayungon, and nine in La Libertad.
There were 112 people injured and 66 others missing.
The 6.9-magnitude tremor, which occurred at 11:49 a.m. last February 6, five kilometers northwest of Tayasan town, was set off by movement in an undersea fault.
Some P383 million worth of public infrastructure, including roads, bridges and flood control structures, was damaged.
The official report said the total number of those affected by the quake is 52,933 families or 265,335 persons. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 18, 2012.