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Bantayan: Roofless classroom

/ 09:43 PM November 17, 2013

SANTA FE, Bantayan Island—A roofless classroom greeted day-care teacher Juliet Areglo the day after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” hit the island.

Surrounding her classroom in Barangay (village) Marikaban were fallen coconut trees, whose sheer weight destroyed part of the center where Areglo had been teaching for 20 years.

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Some tables and chairs were broken, visual aids got wet and her lone blackboard was displaced.

Areglo, 40, said she felt like a thousand hands squeezed her heart upon seeing what remained of the classroom where she spent mornings and afternoons teaching 3- to 5-year-old children.

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“That classroom accommodated 86 children [in two shifts]. Seeing it devastated was like losing my own home,” said Areglo, who started teaching at 20 years old after graduating from Cebu Roosevelt Memorial College in mainland Cebu City with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Areglo said classes might resume next week after they have cleared the center of debris and fallen trees.

No other calamity struck the town so hard, taking people’s lives and homes, said Areglo. Some, even their dignity.

“We have become dependent on whoever comes to the island to give relief goods,” said Areglo, a mother of two children.

Strong wind detached the roof of Areglo’s house. Her mother’s house made of light materials wasn’t as lucky. It was a total loss, as though nothing ever stood there.

Her mother now lives on the stage fronting the barangay’s basketball court.

The municipal government has provided them with relief. The management of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, based in Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island, also gave out relief supplies to more than 700 households in Barangay Marikaban.

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Packs followed the Sphere international relief standards, consisting of 8 kilos of rice, a half kilo of mung bean, a half kilo of dried fish, 1 kilo of sugar, 1 kilo of salt, four cans of sardines, 1 pint of cooking oil and other nonfood items, including detergent soap, bath soap, a blanket and sleeping mats.

More than 1,000 households from Poblacion in Santa Fe and Tamiao in Bantayan also received relief supplies.

Beyond distributing relief, Shangri-La is now coordinating with the Philippine Business for Social Progress for rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts.

Areglo led barangay health workers in conducting surveys on the impact of the supertyphoon.

All reports were handwritten, bearing the names of residents per household and the number of dependents. It also indicated if their houses were partially or totally damaged.

“We hope we will soon recover. It is really hard. We haven’t suffered this much before. Yolanda did this to us,” she said.

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TAGS: Haiyan, News, Regions, Yolanda, Yolanda aid
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