Friday, September 26, 2014

Life goes on for Mayon evacuees

GUINOBATAN, Albay, Sept. 25 (PNA) -- Life in an evacuation camp is not at all boring, hard and inconvenient.

For enterprising Rosario Orpiana, 52, of Sitio Mabualud, Tandarora village in this town, it is rewarding if you are resourceful.

A mother of an 18-year old daughter, she tried to be productive within the four corners of the classroom she and others are temporary sheltered by vending goods.

Rosario brought with her their sari-sari store at the evacuation camp to continue earning for their daily needs while her husband, Hilario, 52, returns home to watch over their home and farmland at the foot of the restive Mount Mayon.

“It’s hard to stay here at the evacuation camp. We’re in a home away from home but without comfort and we need to bear it for our safety. We’re forced to stay here until the alert status of the restive Mayon volcano is lowered by the Phivolcs,” she said.

Rosario hopes that the volcano’s restiveness will not take any longer so they could go back to their normal life.

At daytime, the male evacuees go back to their respective villages to look after their dwellings and agricultural crops while the elderly, women and children stay in the congested evacuation camps.

At least 11,255 families or 51,963 persons living within the six to seven- kilometer-radius danger zones in the municipalities of Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Sto. Domingo and Malilipot and the cities of Ligao and Tabaco were evacuated to various temporary shelters by government forces for safety.

When asked why she allows her husband to go back at the foot of Mayon volcano, Rosario said Hilario needs to go back to their home everyday to look after it and their farmland.

Evacuees in Guinobatan town are complaining of lack of clean drinking water.

Mayor Gemma Ongjoco of Guinobatan admitted that no matter how prepared the local government unit in their town is, still potable water is still insufficient as 2,637 families or 11,881 people are currently housed in schools.

Aside from lack of water, she said, they lack comport rooms to accommodate all evacuees.

“We are doing all the best we can but we need assistance from other agencies to provide sufficient water supply for hygienic and drinking purposes,” the neophyte workaholic lady mayor of Guinobatan said.

In Ligao City, Rep. Fernando Gonzalez of the third congressional district, in partnership with the city government of Ligao led by Mayor Patty Gonzalez-Alsua, provided early psycho-social care for Mayon evacuees.

The Dora, the Explorer play brings happiness to the children, elderly and mothers taking care of their children in various evacuation camps.

Gonzalez said not only shelter is needed by the evacuees but also entertainment to get rid of their anxieties in evacuation camps.

At night, evacuees are enjoying movies shown at the big screen installed by the city government of Ligao at the evacuation centers in Tuburan and Binatagan elementary schools.

The 3rd district solon and the city government of Ligao have provided several entertainments to the displaced families of restive Mayon volcano wherein during nighttime, evacuees can either sing or watch movies in the big screen installed by the officials.

A singing program, dubbed as “Patiribayan sa Ligao evacuation center edition," is being held nightly wherein the elderly and children can sing and compete among them to be the best evacuee-singer.

Meanwhile, Governor Joey Salceda has provided free hotel rooms for married evacuees so that the couples will not to go back to their houses at the foot of Mayon, provided that they secure access card.

The access card is given to the couples for them to have its private time.

“DRR is a way of life that enables human development to proceed in the mid of risks and that no one should lose his life due to disaster,“ Salceda said.

The tens of thousands evacuees will be staying in various evacuation camps for about 90 days, depending on the abnormalities being exhibited by the restive volcano.

Salceda admitted that the government’s coffer is dwindling and they could not sustain the needs of the evacuees without the help of national government as well as international funding institutions.

He said the provincial government needs at least Php 300 million to support the needs of Mayon evacuees within 90 days to attain its zero casualty goal.

The Albay governor is optimistic that no one will be hurt nor perish in the impending Mayon eruption if everybody will heed the government’s call to stay away from six to seven-kilometer-radius danger zones.

“Nothing to fear, as long as you are outside the 8-km PDZ. Lava never breaks the 6-km distance since 1616 and pyroclastic flows never went beyond 8 kms. LGUs and the AFP have evacuated every restless soul so we just have to keep it that way,” Salceda said.

He said the Mayon volcano eruption is actually the biggest touristic event of the Philippines this year.

"It is the grandest fireworks display for 2014. The challenge is making tourists, especially foreign media, conform to our safety practices to achieve zero casualty,” the governor added. (PNA) CTB/FGS/RBB/CBD/UTB