The post-Yolanda Typhoon situation in the Philippines continues to worsen as related in this new report of the ongoing SSPX's relief work there.
Operation Yolanda note #7
December 20, 2013
2 reports from our special envoys, Fr. Coenrad Daniels and Miss Yolly Gamutan
The drama continues and gets worse: only brave volunteers welcome
1) From Fr Daniels (SSPX), head of the Building team
Following is a basic report of my visit to Tacloban and Ormoc, Leyte. (Dec. 17-19).
I have never seen such a mess, such a disaster, even though I have now viewed it more than 6 weeks after. For the purpose of helping to rebuild the homes of our people, or at least make it liveable; I note the following:
1. Time span needed: 3 months minimum.
2. Materials to be used: It remains difficult: In some places concrete can be used, some wood. It is interesting to see that all kinds of homes / building collapsed; wooden and concrete: Some concrete buildings were crushed completely; mainly due to the massive trees and even cars hurled against them like big boulders. Although most deaths were caused by drowning, yet it seems that most of these occurred in concrete building from which people could not escape or were crushed within.
3. It is impossible to have a singular design of house.
- Some live now on marsh-lands and will need stilts;
- Shapes and sizes vary according to the little land they own;
- Others live on rented land and so permanent houses are not desirable.
4. In all these places, electricity is not available. Therefore workmanship will have to be completed with manual tools; the most elementary are the most welcome: claw-hammer, tape measure, spade, hand-saw, etc.
5. Working conditions as well as living conditions are bad to very bad. Construction water is contaminated, it is very hot, very humid, in many places little under-cover for the worker; mosquitoes by the millions etc. etc. Those of weak health are not recommended to come.
6. Purchasing of materials: not easy. The solution of buying up materials in Cebu is, in my estimation very difficult;
- Very expensive.
- It will presuppose large quantities; but there is no storage place. Steel and wood are extremely susceptible to theft; concrete cannot be left in the open; a little wetness and it becomes unusable; even the high degree of humidity prevents one to leave cement bags too long.
- The supply of materials is augmenting again in the hardware shops and their price seem to be become reasonable once again.
2) From Miss Yolly Gamutan
All mission volunteers must bravely prepare to battle with gnats, mosquitoes, flies and mites. Garbage dumps are growing and rats, flies, gnats, mosquitoes, cockroaches and many other creeping creatures are breeding. There are still decomposing bodies being recovered and many still unrecovered. The smell in certain areas in Tacloban is worse.
Last Monday (16th), as we sang at the Mass offered by Fr. Ghela in the police station (30 policemen attended!) in Barangay San Jose in Tacloban, I had to wrap my veil around my face to avoid swallowing the fat flies dancing around my face.
Yesterday, I met with the youth in Tacloban to practice some Christmas songs with them. Just before we ended the practice, I started sneezing and having itchy conjunctiva because of the book lice and molds. Life here isn't for the weak-hearted. Last night, as I listened to the sounds of running rats and flying cockroaches, I could hear the sounds of people coughing.
I am now in Maasin to access internet. Thanks be to God for this change of location, I can sit peacefully without feeling any creature crawling on my arms. I can work without suffering the gnats biting on my ears. Blessed be God for this rest!
In Mary Immaculate,
Special note from Fr. Daniel Couture
Many thanks to all those who have donated and who are praying for the Philippines, especially during this Christmas period. We assure all those who will read this of our prayers and best wishes for Christmas.