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A bleak Christmas no more for So. Leyte as help continues to pour in

MAASIN, SO. LEYTE – It was a bleak Christmas for the people of Southern Leyte who were affected by Typhoon ‘Odette’. However, help continues to pour in to give them hope, especially coming from Supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’ survivors.

Accordingly, this is their way of paying forward since Southern Leyte was one of the first responders after the deadly typhoon in 2013.

Narcissa Isaac, and her daughter Lia, 5, were stranded in the city proper during the onslaught of the typhoon. They were supposed to attend the first midnight mass but they were forced to stay with friends since the mass was canceled.

Now, they are volunteering to clean the Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral as their way of showing gratitude for overcoming the catastrophe.

“We thank the Lord for sparing us. Lia’s father is already dead and our house has also been damaged but we are blessed that we are still here and people are helping us,” Narcissa said.

Gabriel Tabita, 51, also from Maasin could not help but turn emotional after receiving the first relief goods given by media practitioners from Tacloban City, two days after the typhoon hit their city.

“Our house in the mountain was washed out. We have to ration our food because our money is running out,” he revealed.

Imelda Balik, 51, from San Juan, Southern Leyte had no other choice but to rummage through the rubbles where her house used to stand, as it was accordingly washed out by the storm surge. She has 14 children and some of her grandchildren live with them. They were spared by the storm surge but were left with nothing.

Currently, they are staying in the evacuation center near their house but she does not know until when.

Accordingly, more and more children from their village beg for help and food on the streets to get by for the day.

Imelda was one of the recipients of 1,000 food packs brought by a group of people from Matag-ob, Leyte under the BGT Cares Foundation. She was also teary-eyed when she received cash assistance from Bernie Tacoy who led the team.

“I thought there’s no Christmas this year. We did not know how to spend it with no house and only taking shelter in a school. I am thankful that there are people who came to help us,” she added.

Meanwhile, after three days of being isolated, the historic island of Limasawa is now appealing for help after Typhoon ‘Odette’ ravaged their homes and livelihood.

“The people need food and drinking water,” Remigilda Salomon, the town’s tourism officer said.

Accordingly, at least 1,729 families or 6,426 individuals have been affected by ‘Odette’ on the island of six villages. She added that based on the data of their municipal disaster risk reduction council, 90 percent of the houses have been totally damaged while one casualty was reported, and 11 injured. By Marie Tonette Marticio

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