About two hours travel time from Tacloban City lies the town of Burauen. With a population of 55,000, Burauen is one of the biggest towns in Leyte.
Though landlocked, Burauen is still heavily affected by typhoon Yolanda. Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Vilma Abad said about 95% to 100% of the town was damaged by Yolanda. Municipal Mayor Fe Renomeron was in Tacloban City when I arrived. She was soliciting help from the national government and other non-governmental organizations in the city.
A week after typhoon Yolanda made landfall in the province, little help has reached Burauen. Local officials said they are getting by with donations from different organizations. What they need most is fuel to get the allocated relief goods from Tacloban.
With a distance of about 50 kilometers from the capital, the local government is using what is left of the fuel reserve that they have. A barangay official had to load three 50-kilo sacks of rice on a single motorcycle just to bring it from the municipal hall to Barangay Kaparasanan.
Coconut crops is the main produce of Burauen and it is also the most affected. Twenty thousand hectares of coconut land were affected, with damages amounting to P413.5 million. Vice Mayor Juanito Renomeron said it will take at least seven years for them to plant and harvest since almost all of the trees were destroyed.
Despite the damages brought by Yolanda, residents are starting to pick up from what was left of their lives. Commerce is now visible at the town center and people are busy rebuilding their houses.
With the help of other organizations, local officials hope that things will be back to normal soon.