Quake shatters dream house built over 10 years
MAKILALA, Cotabato — In the last 10 years, Ano Loma and his wife Ranyfe had been setting aside a small part of his earnings regularly to slowly build their dream house. As a carpenter and the sole family breadwinner, he could not afford to build a house in one big single spending.
The couple and their only child were all set to move to their new concrete — though still unfinished — house in Barangay Batasan when the Oct. 31 magnitude 6.5 earthquake dashed their dreams.
“We built our dream house for 10 years, saving whatever we could to buy construction materials gradually. But in a snap, the horrifying earthquake stole that dream from us,” the 50-year-old Loma told the Inquirer over the weekend in Cebuano.
“It’s not safe to live there anymore. It needs to be condemned,” he added, noting they had invested some P200,000 to build it.
The old house where the Loma family used to live — made of concrete and light materials — had been damaged by the Oct. 16 magnitude 6.3 earthquake.
When another quake — this time of magnitude 6.6 — struck again on Oct. 29, the old house was damaged further, prompting the couple to decide to move to their unfinished new house nearby by Oct. 31.
But before they could move their things, the magnitude 6.5 quake struck past 9.m. last Thursday, knocking down half of their old house and seriously damaging their dream house.
“The quakes were horrific. The ground growled. The earth moved fiercely — not just sideways but up and down,” Loma said, who still was grateful his family was safe.
Sitting on the ground, 46-year-old Ranyfe was salvaging whatever she could from the collapsed house, including the crayons of their child.
“It’s good though that it happened in daylight. Otherwise, I can’t imagine the mayhem if the quake had struck in the dead of the night while most of us were sleeping,” she said.
Since Thursday night, thousands of families here have been sleeping outside their destroyed houses, many waiting for tents to protect them from the elements. Others had moved to evacuation centers.
In Tulunan town, where the epicenters of the two earlier quakes were traced, Mayor Reuel Limbungan, said that beyond the physical impact, the quakes had left survivors traumatized, perhaps for a lifetime.
As the last two quakes struck in the morning while work and school were ongoing, the official noted the unforgettable mental ordeal they hoped to address with the help of volunteer psychosocial therapists.
“The tremors were very traumatic to the learners and even to the teachers. It has been more than 15 days of disaster,” he told the Inquirer, referring to the aftershocks they felt since Oct. 16.
Unlike typhoons or floods, which will be over in a day or two, there’s no way of telling when earthquakes will strike, the mayor added.
Several dozens of families from Tulunan have received cash assistance from the government’s National Housing Authority (NHA), which pledged to extend P30,000 each for the totally destroyed and P20,000 for partially damaged houses, Limbungan said.
Meanwhile, Dorecita Delima, Region 12 director fo the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), warned traders against jacking up prices of commodities in quake-affected areas.
“We have imposed a price freeze because of the calamity,” she said.
Prices have been frozen in the towns of Makilala, Tulunan, M’lang and in the city of Kidapawan, all in Cotabato.
Delima appealed to suppliers of bottled waters and other consumer goods from neighboring areas to sell their commodities for quake-affected areas at old prices, amid reports that unscrupulous traders had been jacking up prices.
Inquirer calls for support for the victims of earthquakes in Mindanao
Responding to appeals for help, the Inquirer is extending its relief to the families affected by the recent earthquakes in Mindanao.
Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Foundation Corp. Banco De Oro (BDO) Current Account No: 007960018860.
Inquiries may be addressed and emailed to Inquirer’s Corporate Affairs office through [email protected]
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