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Planís Aid Needed to Protect Villagers from Disease

Nicola pours herself a cup of water using a water and sanitation kit provided by Plan.
Nicola pours herself a cup of water using a water and sanitation kit provided by Plan.
November 20, 2013

Oliver and his three sisters are sheltering from yet another downpour of hammering rain in what remains of his village, of Barangai, Carmen, East Samar. They are gathered in what was their general purpose room. The house which was attached to it has vanished, razed to the ground by the storm surge. The water had poured through a large hole in the wall leaving a growing puddle of water inside of the room. The remainder of the water had drained into collection buckets.

Despite this, they know that they are the lucky ones. A confirmed 22 people have died there—12 of them children. Inside, 8-year-old Nicola pours herself a cup of water using a Plan-provided water and sanitation kit. It is a small, but essential measure to provide clean water and keep disease and sickness at bay.

The family was among hundreds of residents who fled up a small hill to the evacuation center – the elementary school – where they waited for Haiyan to pass. When they had returned, all but one house in the village had been destroyed.

“I did cry then,” Nicola’s mother, Davina, admits. A community volunteer with Plan for 11 years, she says that she is worried about money, food, proper shelter—and the impact that this will have on her children. “I worry most about their education. My eldest, Mary-Dell, 16, has just started college but I think she will have to stop. We cannot afford to send her and have to prioritize things.”

Her husband, a farmer, is out salvaging wood, his rice and coconut crops all destroyed. Davina worries about her family's safety.

"There are many new people coming into the village every day and I don’t know them,” she says.

Plan is currently the only International Non-Governmental Organization operating in the area and the blue tarpaulins being distributed are everywhere. People are fashioning makeshift shelters from whatever they can salvage and patch up from the remains of their homes.

Ricalyn, 12, and brother Jake, 2, are among them. The family left their home for the evacuation center in a hurry and now only have the clothes that they were wearing when they left.

“I was terrified of the waves, but the adults told us where to go, where to run,” Ricalyn said.

Her mother added, “We couldn’t see anything from the evacuation center because of the typhoon and all the rain. It wasn’t until we came back down afterwards that we saw our homes and all our possessions were gone.”

Vice Mayor of Hernani, Wilmar Candido, met with Plan staff on the coastal road while touring around his constituents on his motorbike. He discussed seed distributions with Plan, temporary cash for work programs, and the need for more temporary shelters.

“Thank you so much for all you have done so far, there is so much need among the people here, I don’t want them to be forgotten,” he added.

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