Cotabato, Davao Del Sur quake-hit towns get aid


Posted at Nov 09 2019 09:51 AM

Some residents in Cotabato and Davao del Sur continue to grapple with the terror of aftershocks although there are some who have gotten used to it and dismissed it.

Over 46,000 families have been affected by the recent earthquakes in Mindanao. About 7,400 families reside in evacuation centers, according to a report by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).


But classrooms in schools and covered courts in barangays that have served as evacuation centers remain empty as residents opt to stay under makeshift tarpaulin tents set up in open areas.

Numerous aftershocks have made Rosalie Umali weary and worried.

"Delikado naman diyan," Umali said as she pointed towards a covered court in Barangay Kisante, Makilala, Cotabato. "Dito na lang kami, safe."

(It's dangerous to stay under structures. It's safer under here.)

Most of the evacuees are struggling to rebuild their lives.

The tarpaulins now serve as their homes, the surrounding areas used for cooking, washing clothes, and bathing.

The idea of living under tarpaulins for the indefinite future daunts them.

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Jeisel Uyangurin worked for over 15 years in an automotive shop in order to build his family a two-storey home.

In the 13 days between the quakes that shook Mindanao on October 16 and 29, Uyangurin's 15 years of hard work were reduced rubble.

Now his family is among thousands of others who have lost their homes and Uyangurin is not above sifting through rubble to find items he can salvage.

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Jeisel looks over the pile of rocks that used to be his home.

"Kailangan ng lahat ng mga tao ng kagamitan sa bahay, kasi lahat dito wala nang matitirahan. Diyan lang sa tent, aabot hanggang saan ang iyong tent? Baka masira na hindi ka pa makapagawa ng bahay." said Uyangurin.

(We need equipment to build homes, we've lost all our homes. We live in tents, but how long will those last? Those tents would've been destroyed long before we're able to rebuild our houses.)

Many of the evacuees are farmers whose livelihoods have also been lost just like Sarahchel Diagone who had to flee to an evacuation area in Barangay San Miguel, Magsaysay, Davao Del Sur.

"Hindi namin alam kung paano kami mabubuhay kasi farmers kami eh. Hindi kami mabubuhay kung hindi kami magtanim. Ang hanapbuhay namin sa bukid," said Diagone.

(We don't know how we'll carry on. We're farmers, and we live off of our fields.)

She said she was told not to go back to their field because of massive cracks.

Beyond the numbers of displaced, over 3 million children have been affected by the quakes that rattled Mindanao over the past weeks, according to Save The Children Philippines.

Emily Binag's 8-year old daughter Jarelmae has not left her mother's side since the earthquakes.

"Sobrang iyak niya and then niyakap ko siya tapos nagsuka na. Kinakabahan na talaga, konting galaw, wala na nanginginig na."

(She cried so much, I hugged her to comfort her, but she threw up. She's always on edge, a little tremor would send her shaking in fear.)

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Emily, in blue, with her daughter Jarelmae

To alleviate the stress, Bantay Bata with the help of ABS-CBN and Sagip Kapamilya organized children's games in Makilala, Cotabato and handed out toys and snacks for children in evacuation centers.

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A television set and satellite dish from Sky Direct were also installed in Banilawan Elementary School to provide entertainment to the children who now temporarily reside there.

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ABS-CBN delivered food packs of rice and canned goods, sleeping mats and blankets to over 4,000 families; and served hot meals to over 5,000 individuals in Kidapawan City, the towns of Makilala and Tulunan in Cotabato, and the towns of Magsaysay and Bansalan in Davao Del Sur for its 6-day relief operations in the hardest-hit areas of the quakes in Mindanao.

Operations are still on-going.