Monday, September 28, 2009

Survivors return to Provident Village

MANILA, PHilippines - Residents started returning to their homes in Provident Village, Marikina City yesterday as government workers cleared the area of debris brought by the onslaught of typhoon “Ondoy,” which left 72 dead in Marikina alone.

However, they saw that only the foundations remained, and receding floodwaters left about two feet of mud. Able-bodied residents took turns cleaning their homes of mud as they lamented that they received no government help since Ondoy struck last Saturday.

Among those affected were the relatives of ABS-CBN executive Arlene Lim-Farol, whose house was submerged in about three feet of water.

“Everything, except the structures was destroyed,” Farol said, noting that their residence is higher than the average house in Provident Village.

The residents claimed it would take them several days to dig up the mud and bring their lives back to normal.

Marikina police chief Senior Superintendent Romeo Magsalos said some areas in the village already have electricity, but residents have run out of potable water.

“The residents’ priorities are… clean water to drink, clothing, blankets and sleeping mats. Of course, they also need food and any other basic commodities,” Magsalos told The STAR in an interview.

Despite the massive relief operations conducted by Mayor Maria Lourdes Fernando, Magsalos said they still experienced shortage in supplies of food and other necessities. He said they are still closely monitoring the situation in schools converted into evacuation centers.

Magsalos said at least 59 of the recorded fatalities were residents of Provident Village, with the bodies of seven members of a family recovered in Barangay Concepcion Uno. Six other bodies were recovered from other parts of the city.

At the height of typhoon Ondoy, Farol said her parents, siblings and neighbors took refuge on the roof of their house. She said it was her sister, who arrived on board a six-by-six truck, who rescued them. “All the 16 persons who took shelter on the high roof were accounted for,” said Farol , adding that her relatives and household helpers are safe in her house in Manila.

Farol said the ceiling of their house collapsed, “All the window screens were covered by mud. Our appliances, including the big piano, cabinets and others were in total wreck… But my parents, and family survived the raging floodwaters.”

Magsalos also bewailed the fact that the Justice Hall, which houses the local police headquarters, was submerged in chest-deep waters last Saturday. He said the floodwaters have subsided but the police headquarters has neither water nor electricity.

“All our telephone lines are busted and we cannot perform our mandate very well. But we are coping by joining other government agencies in the ongoing clearing operations,” he said.

The Marikina City government has centralized relief operations in affected areas and established headquarters under the flyover in front of the Monasterio de Sta. Clara on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.

“All those who want to ask questions, like their missing relatives and others pertinent to the calamity and those who want to donate food and other basic commodities can proceed to the place,” he said adding that donors can contact Tek de Leon at cell phone number 0920-9052914. - By Non Alquitran (Philstar News Service,


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