The municipalities of Palo and Tanauan are 2 of the hardest hit towns of super typhoon Yolanda, and this is the first time I’ve visited these places. From what I’ve heard, the storm surge has swept the coastal areas clear of all structures. I can only imagine.
I have been through this road many times in the past, and the sight that was before me was almost as close as what I have imagined. Except for familiar intersections, everywhere else looked like the same wasteland with headless trunks of coconut trees jutting out of the landscape.
This is the major intersection heading to the town proper of Tanauan. At the fork of the road is an island that has become a burial ground for those who perished in the typhoon. The total number of casualties may have already exceeded 10,000, yet the government is still insisting on reporting a low 6,000+ for some unknown reason that is only designed to make the government look good.
It has been 80 days, and still a lot of things haven’t been taken cared of yet.
Here a fisherman is almost finished building his boat. How they survived 80 days without a source of income is something I wasn’t keen on prying. Food relief was few and far between.
His house was on the other side of the highway, away from the coastline which was more than 500 meters away, still the tide surged in. They managed to evacuate to the nearby school but it was also badly damaged that they had to climb into a floating pick up truck, and that’s when he lost 2 of his children.
The lack of skilled boat builders have forced these fishermen to learn carpentry skills out of necessity.
A temporary boat while waiting for the main boat to be finished. Only a few fishermen have returned to their livelihood.
No walls, no ceiling, but full of smiles.
Up to now there is still no sense of normalcy. People are still living in evacuation centers, receiving relief goods and are waiting for government to relocate them to safer areas. There won’t be any drastic change in the situation in the coming months. Forward movement will be painstakingly slow with hazards to look out for while on the road to recovery.