This is inside Corazon Bacalla’s tent where she lives with her young children. Her husband supports the family through farming. Typhoon Pablo damaged acres of farmland when it struck in December last year. ©UNICEF Philippines/2013/KPalasi
A few weeks before summer started, I visited Davao Oriental with UNICEF. It was, by far, the most memorable and most touching trip I’ve taken with UNICEF.
Last December a really strong typhoon hit the south eastern part of Mindanao leaving an entire region devastated and thousands of people dead. Many homes were destroyed and the damage to property and livelihood was enormous. I visited three months after the typhoon and still there were so much debris and fallen trees around. Yet despite all the damage and destruction, I saw in the eyes of many children, a lot of hope and faith. I still have so many stories to tell about the people I met and the places I saw.
We talked to partners and barangay officials about the water and sanitation situation inside the evacuation centre in Baranggay Papag. With me is the head of the American Catholic Relief group, working with UNICEF here. In photo wearing blue vest is UNICEF Philippines’ Country Representative Tomoo Hozumi. ©UNICEF Philippines/2013/KPalasi
Dapnan Elementary School in Baganga, Davao Oriental. Children here hold classes in temporary shelters. All structures save for one school hall remained after Typhoon Pablo struck last year. ©UNICEF Philippines/2013/KPalasi
The Typhoon Pablo story has fallen off the front pages of the newspapers too soon. It is one of the deadliest typhoons that hit our country, and yet very little news of this came out. So much still needs to be done. At the time of my visit, all international and foreign aid agencies were still at the UN camp – each working on different aspects of restoring normalcy and rebuilding.
I am pleased to share our article published by Rappler. I hope you take the time to read the stories and please share them in your blog, facebook and twitter.
Please read our story in Rappler here.
For more info on UNICEF’s emergency response and recovery efforts, visit www.unicef.ph.