In the Visayas, saddest Christmas for homeless ‘Odette’ survivors
BAIS CITY — With a heavy heart, tricycle driver Arnold Urucay and his family were resigned to spending Christmas for the first time in an evacuation center. Urucay’s family was among the multitude of people across the Visayas who have lost their homes to floods and strong winds at the height of Typhoon “Odette“ (international name: Rai).
“This is our first time to experience a very tragic and dreadful typhoon,” he said.
While it would be a bleak Christmas for the victims, many remained grateful for surviving a very strong typhoon, which has claimed over 300 lives as of the latest count.
“Even if it’s not the same as before when we can prepare special food for dinner, we still want to celebrate because it’s the birth of our God,” he said.
In Bohol province, the family of Ma. Rosa Batuan in Ubay town would be celebrating their “saddest” Christmas, as they have no money for food, much less to celebrate the birthday of her son, Ryan, who would turn 23 on Christmas Day.Batuan lost her 87-year-old father, Urbano Curiba, to the strong winds and floods that destroyed their house.
“I am thankful to God that we are alive,” said Ryan, as he joined his family on Friday at their makeshift dwelling made out of materials salvaged from their destroyed house.
In Antique province’s town of Anini-y, residents of San Francisco village who fared better than the others were helping their homeless neighbors. “We collected rice from those who can spare and we gave these to those who lost their houses and belongings,” said Cindy Loquias, who had sheltered in her house a number of her neighbors as Odette pummeled their town on Dec. 18.Outpouring of assistance
In Liloan town in Southern Leyte, typhoon survivor Letecia Gerondio, 53, was sad over the loss of her house but welcomed the help coming from outside the province.
“I really don’t know if we can still celebrate Christmas but we are still thankful that there is an outpouring of assistance,” she said.
In Cebu City, laundrywoman Elvira Binarao, 32, was also thankful that she and her family survived the typhoon even as they had lost their home and belongings.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.