GIPORLOS, Eastern Samar- From his own observations, the people of Yolanda-hit areas have appeared to have recovered from the calamity, nine months after it struck Eastern Visayas.
Thus said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) during his visit to a village of this town on August 25 wherein his group initiated for the reconstruction of houses totally destroyed by the supertyphoon on November 8, 2013.

During his almost an hour visit in Barangay Santa Cruz, Maurer talked with village officials and residents of the village of 378 people. And he was pleased with that he personally witnessed to this upland farming village, 2.8 kilometers away from the town proper of Giporlos. Giporlos was one of the hard-hit areas in Eastern Samar during Yolanda’s onslaught more than nine months ago.

“I’m very impressed how quickly the people could recover from the terrible typhoon. It’s very interesting to observe what they have become after the typhoon,” Maurer said. He, however, admitted that it is “a long way to go” before it could be said that the people who survived the devastation due to Yolanda have totally recovered as he announced that the ICRC and its partner in the country, the Philippine Red Cross(PRC), is committed to helping the victims which include shelter and livelihood assistance. Maurer, joined by PRC national chairman Richard Gordon, is set to meet with President Aquino on Tuesday in Malacanang. Before proceeding to Giporlos, Maurer also visited the Basey District Hospital in Basey, Samar. The said facility was given P3.8 million assistance by the ICRC after it sustained damages from Yolanda.

In this village of Santa Cruz, for instance, the ICRC and the PRC, reconstructed the houses of the 57 families totally destroyed by the supertyphoon. The entire village was a total wasteland after Yolanda hit their village with all its houses washed out, village chair Arcadio Ogcimar. “What happened to us during the onslaught of Yolanda was beyond words. All houses here were in totally destroyed to include our chapel,” Ogcimar said. But thanks to the ICRC, they were able to have their new houses made of coco lumber, amakan (bamboo matting) and G.I. sheets and of 18 square meter area. A common latrine was built for the village.

Cristina Abud, 52, said that they are grateful for the assistance extended to them by the ICRC and the PRC. “After the storm, we tried to gather what we could to have even only a roof for our heads. We could hardly sleep inside,” Abud said. She lives with her husband Antonio,63 and a son, who is on his eight year in high school. But she admitted that their life in the village is still difficult considering that their farming area of about a hectare was also affected during the typhoon. It was a ‘fortune’ to them already if they could harvest of at least 10 cavans of palay, she said. This means, they are assured of at least P1,000 out of this harvest, she said.
“It’s difficult,” she said. (VICKY ARNAIZ)