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    Posted December 7, 2012 by
    Mindanao, Philippines
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Severe weather

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    Disaster response teams find homes, lives destroyed by typhoon


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Sanitation specialist Arlo Ramos from the humanitarian organization, World Vision, photographed the devastation in Compostela Valley, in the southern Philippines, which was caused by Typhoon Bopha. He traveled to the area to assess the damage inflicted by the typhoon, as well as determine the needs of locals in terms of drinking water and sanitation, but when he arrived he discovered whole villages destroyed and residents traumatized by the force of the storm.

    "They really did not expect that it would happen in these hard-hit areas, despite warnings," he said. "Right now you can really sense that they're in a state of shock. Their [the residents'] homes are in the coastal areas and rivers and since their homes were washed away they were forced to make makeshift structures along the highway. As we pass down the highway, we see these small tents made out of tarps, mud, and whatever materials they have."

    The normal sources of water for residents were destroyed due to flash flooding and wells are contaminated with mud. The charity is working to bring in more water supplies, water purification tablets and much needed food and blankets.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    As the death toll continues to climb from Typhoon Bopha, World Vision is working to assist at least 8,000 families in the typhoon-stricken areas of Compostela Valley and Agusan del sur. The organization will be handing out emergency food rations for families that include rice, water, canned goods, sugar, biscuits, cooking oil and dried fish.

    In the meantime, assessment teams continue to be stunned by the damage they're seeing, capturing much of it on camera. Typhoon Bopha left a trail of destruction in Northern Mindanao including Compostela Valley, one of the hardest-hit areas. Hundreds of bodies of people, some children, were unearthed from the rubble and lined-up on the streets, covered by banana leaves from fallen trees that were also wiped out by the fierce winds and flash floods.

    "I see a lot of destruction and pain in my surroundings. Few structures left in the town. Thousands of people remained in temporary shelters. It’s totally heartbreaking to see people all around who are still looking for their missing loved ones. I couldn't stop my tears," said Crislyn Felisilda, World Vision Emergency Communications Officer.

    "In a thousand hectares of banana plantations in Compostela Valley, I cannot see even just one tree standing,” said Arlo Ramos, a member of World Vision disaster assessment team. “Compostela Valley, once considered as a rich agriculture rich land is now seriously devastated, registering millions of agricultural losses.”

    Compostela Valley is a major producer of export quality bananas and other fruits in the Philippines. The devastated banana plantations in the province are a great loss to small farmers in the area who only rely on growing bananas to feed their family and support basic needs.
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