CEBU CITY — The Depart-ment of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII were deployed at the Mactan Air Base to assist victims of Typhoon Yolanda who moved out from typhoon-ravaged Tacloban City and arrived in this city via C130.
After the evacuees arrived at the airport, DSWD personnel interviewed them to assess their needs and to provide initial debriefing. They were also given hot meals and provided a warm place to sleep in. Medical help was also arranged for the elderly and wounded.
“Tiniis naming maglakad mula 10:00 [ng gabi] hanggang 3:30 [ng umaga] para makaabot sa airport… At ang tatay ko, naka-wheelchair (We walked from 10:00 pm until 3:30 am just to reach the airport… And my father is wheelchair-bound),” said Kevin Talbo, 24, from San Jose, Tacloban City.
“My grandson David let me stand on his lap and held me above water for hours and when the weather calmed down, he placed me safely on tree branch, left me with a shirt and told me not to move. I was so cold but I have to survive for my children and grandchildren,” said 84-year old Pilar Ferreras.
Violeta Tangson recalled her ordeal.
“Nagtago kami ng mga anak ko sa ilalim ng lababo kasama ang 15 pang mga bata. Nawalis ang dingding at nawala ang mga bata sa paligid. Kami na lang ng asawa at mga anak ko [ang natira] (My children and me hid under the sink with 15 other kids. The walls started to crumble and the children got washed away. The only ones who survived are I, my husband and our children.).”
A mother of three, Violeta started to worry for her family more when dead bodies started to smell. That is when she decided to take the four-hour walk from the town of Palo to Tacloban airport dragging her injured foot.
“Makalabas lang kami ng Leyte, may mga kamag-anak ako sa Cavite na tutulong sa amin. Mabubuhay ang mga anak ko (If we can just get out of Leyte, I have relatives in Cavite who will help us. My children will live),” she shared.
Violeta’s husband chose to stay behind to take care of his aging mother, and this saddens her, but knowing that her children are already safe is enough reason to look forward to a new life in a different town.
DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman has instructed DSWD Field Offices V, VII, X and CARAGA to reinforce relief operations in Eastern Visayas.
These field offices are now repacking relief items. They have also deployed personnel to help in relief distribution and to conduct initial critical incident stress debriefing (CISD). (DSWD-Social Marketing Service)