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Thursday, October 1, 2009

News: Botolan flood misery refuses to end

Please don't forget the provinces. They still haven't recovered from the previous storms.

Botolan flood misery refuses to end

BOTOLAN, Zambales -- It is a test of resilience that residents of this town may not be able to bear any longer, forcing them to cry out loud for help.

In August, Typhoon “Labuyo” struck the town of more than 58,000 people, soaking clothes, appliances, mementos, food and lives in muddy, murky flood waters.

Labuyo struck just as the town thought it was on its way to recovery from previous flooding. Barely a month after, the rains poured again followed shortly by floods.

The disaster bore a different name, “Ondoy,” but it brought the same, if not higher, levels of destruction and suffering to the town.

Since August 6, thousands of evacuees in 16 evacuation centers here have become dependent on other people’s help since their houses were destroyed by floodwaters.


Now food is running out and most of the people are getting sick, according to Lorenzo Cailing Jr., spokesperson and president of a group of evacuees in Botolan.

He said in the last five days over 500 families in two evacuation centers have not received relief goods.

“Many people here think that we have been forgotten. We have not received anything ... We have been here for almost two months already,” he said.

He said the last batch of relief goods that came was from the social welfare department office of Botolan.

Each family got half a kilogram of rice, two sardine cans and two packs of noodles.

“We don’t know when the next relief goods would come. We’re sure that what they gave us won’t last long,” said Cailing.

The children are vulnerable to disease, although the elderly, too, suffer from coughs, fever, diarrhea and skin diseases.

“Our water source is also a problem,” he said.

A deep well that supplies water is 5 feet from a septic tank. Toilets don’t have doors “so we just cover them with umbrellas,” he said.


The evacuees live in tents or shelter boxes donated by the Rotary Club International.

Rogelio Lima, 47, an evacuee from Barangay Carael, expressed gratitude for the shelter boxes but said the people could only stay there until 9 a.m.

“After that, it gets so hot your nose could bleed. We have to stay outside,” he said.

In Pampanga, the provincial government and private groups pooled funds and distributed relief goods to Ondoy victims in the province.

Governor Eddie Panlilio visited victims in Arayat town where 12 persons died in a landslide.

The provincial social welfare development office distributed more than P1 million worth of relief goods, including 60 cavans of rice, 140 boxes of canned goods, blankets, mosquito nets and kitchen ware, to flood victims in Masantol, Sta. Ana, Sta. Rita and Candaba towns and City of San Fernando.

Seeds, fingerlings and piglets will also be distributed to flooded villages while P12 million was allotted for the repair of dikes, roads and bridges and other government facilities.

Help coming

In Clark Freeport, the Clark Development Corp. (CDC), Clark locators, and the Philippine Air Force 600th Air Base Wing have raised more than P1 million to help typhoon victims.

Benigno Ricafort, CDC president, said the CDC and the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) each donated P250,000 while Cyber City Teleservices gave P100,000. Smart Shirts Phils. pledged P100,000 worth of clothes.

The National Information and Communications Technology Confederation appealed to all its member councils and partners to likewise help.

SM City Clark and SM City Pampanga have put up donation boxes inside their malls.