Project Stories:

Philippines: help after the Kai Tak typhoon

by Esther Schwan

By the end of 2017 several massive storms passed over the Philippines – reaching a tragic climax on the 16th of December with the heavy typhoon Kai Tak (Urduja).

In particular the island province of Biliran was hit hard. The soft volcanic soil did not resist the severe winds and rains for long: heavy floods and landslides claimed 42 lives in Biliran alone. Farms, houses, streets and bridges were destroyed. Thousands of people lost their homes, there were power cuts and the supply with food could no longer be ensured.

Bewohner nutzen eine behelfsmäßige Brücke aus Bambus

The floodings after the typhoon Kai Tak had destroyed the bridge over the river. The villagers built a makeshift footbridge from bamboo. Photo: PHILRADS

Also in Samar, in particular in the province of Northern Samar, entire cities were cut off from the outer world by the storm, they were submerged in water for up to two weeks.

Durch den Erdrutsch zerstörte Häuser

Houses destroyed by landslides. In parts the mud covered entire houses for up to two weeks. Photo: PHILRADS

With regard to this dramatic situation humedica decided to support the relief effort measures of our longstanding partner PHILRADS with an emergency contribution of 50.000 Euro. PHILRADS took off immediately to the affected regions to distribute urgently needed emergency supplies. These areas are situated approximately seven hours by car from the city Tacloban, where the humedica partner organisation has its headquarters.

Überschwemmte und zerstörte Straßen durch den Taifun Kai Tak

Houses and streets flooded and wrecked by the typhoon Kai Tak. Photo: PHILRADS

In total 2.000 families could be helped by the emergency aid measures. They got rice, tinned food, noodles and mung beans as the heavy rains also flooded the rice and vegetable fields, which are the main food sources in the Philippines. Families, which had lost their whole households, also received cookware.

While distributing supply goods in Barangay Lucsoon the humedica/PHILRADS helpers met Zenaida Caliao and were deeply moved by her sorry fate.

Zenaido Caliao und ihr Bruder erhalten Lebensmittel von PHILRADS-Mitarbeiterin Baby Amor

Zenaido Caliao (wearing a brown T-shirt, in the centre) and her brother (red T-shirt, on the right) are handed food from the PHILRADS employee Baby Amor (red humedica vest, on the left). Photo: PHILRADS

When the typhoon showed its full force on the evening of the 16th December 2017, the 42 year-old Zenaido Caliao wanted to leave the village together with her own and other families. But it was already too late: a mudslide buried wide parts of the village including the home of Zenaido Caliao. Her husband, Chikkito Caliao, and one of their six children, the 20 year-old Ivy, were entombed by the landslide. The dead body of her daughter was found and buried several days after, her husband has still not been found.

Zenaido is now solely responsible for the provision of her five remaining children, the youngest only seven years old. She will also have to pay for the reconstruction of her house. At the moment, she and her children live with relatives, but this is only a temporary emergency solution. PHILRADS and humedica provided Zenaido now with food and pans to assist her in feeding her family in these hard times.

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