In storm-devastated areas, hope for 2013


NEW BATAAN, Compostela Valley—Slowly walking over logs and boulders while carrying two water containers, 56-year old Tessie Jentapa fetches water in the same river where her husband died when Typhoon “Pablo” battered Barangay Andap here.

“We have already evacuated at around 4 a.m. of Dec. 4. But my husband asked me if I can return to our house to get dry clothes,” Jentapa narrated.

When she returned to the village chapel where they were seeking temporary shelter, her husband, Luciano, was already missing.

“The ravaging waters took him away. It happened so fast,” Jentapa said.

Jentapa narrated that the flash flood, which carried huge logs and boulders, dumped her husband kilometers away from their home.

“When I went to the town gym a day after the storm, I quickly scanned the dead bodies lying in the ground to search for Luciano. It felt like everything was in slow motion when I saw his ring. I knew it was him. He was covered in mud and one of his legs was missing,” said Jentapa.

“It is really painful for me and our children. I really cannot describe the pain I am feeling right now. This would really be a silent New Year’s celebration for us,” Jentapa said.

She said nothing special would be prepared in their house, which was also heavily damaged by Pablo, on New Year’s Eve.

“We really have no plans of preparing anything. We only have canned sardines, instant noodles and a few grams of rice left in our rations,” Jentapa said.

Despite the tragedy, Jentapa said she is praying really hard that 2013 would bring good health for her five children.

“I know that we should not yield over the trials that we are facing right now. I am worried about what will happen in 2013 considering that my husband is now dead,” she said.

“But we only need good health and we will be able to work hard in rebuilding our lives,” Jentapa said.

For 55-year old Elia Sayayad, the year 2013 offers hope for a good harvest that would allow farmers to recover.

Living in a small peasant community in Sitio Boston in Barangay Andap, Sayayad had to walk four hours just to get relief goods and medical assistance.

She said the treacherous walk is bearable as long as her family survives and is able to resume farming.

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