- Posted October 20, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
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Philippines: Typhoon survivors struggle to rebuild their lives
Manila: Some three weeks after two deadly typhoons lashed the Philippines's main island of Luzon in late September, thousands of those who lost their homes, fields and possessions still struggle to return to their homes and rebuild their livelihoods. In the Masantol Pampanga area, just two hours drive from the capital Manila, hundreds of families are still living on top of the river dyke in flimsy shelters made from bamboo and plastic sheeting. These are communities which were already suffering from a relative lack of infrastructure and economic development, with many communities only accessible by boat.
An assessment team from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) accompanied by colleagues from the NGOs CARE and ACCORD, spent several hours travelling though the affected province, using local vehicles, boats, even tricycles to meet some of the more isolated communities. They found that communities have had their immediate needs for food and shelter covered by private donations and local NGOs. Their concerns are focussing on more medium and long-term issues such as reconstruction of their houses damaged by the floods, the rehabilitation of their rice paddies, fish ponds and other sources of income. And will they receive further assistance to cover their immediate needs for food and drinking water? Ramon, a 58-year old fisherman explains: ”My home is gone and I have to share a simple structure with some plastic sheets with my two sons and their families. There are no more fish in the river or the ponds so how will we live in the coming months?”
Many farmers are also reportedly struggling to repay loans they took out earlier this year for seeds, fertilizer and other inputs. With most of the rice crop washed away and fish ponds destroyed by the raging torrents, they are falling behind their payments. the future appears bleak unless outside intervention assists them to rebuild.
Story and photos: Mathias Eick EU/ECHO