Tatay called me up this morning, distressed.
The scarcity of basic necessities in other parts of Region 8 has spilled over to Catbalogan City, Samar – our hometown. It’s two hours away from Tacloban.
Understandably, people from Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Basey are flocking to Catbalogan for supplies because of its proximity. However, even Catbalogan is running out supplies. Most of the grocery stores are closed because they have nothing more to sell – even instant noodles are very hard to come by.
People now have to wait in line just to buy rice and gasoline. Prices suddenly shot up. This, despite the price freeze ordered by DTI. Tatay said the media is not doing the situation in my hometown justice.
The news in Catbalogan is that the relief goods are in the region, but they are not getting distributed – hence the the depleting supplies even in areas not severely affected by the typhoon.
I hope that the government understands that the people of Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Basey, Samar have to eat three times a day – it’s not enough that we give a bag of relief goods to each person and consider the job done. These people have lost their homes and their source of livelihood, so we have to come through for them until they rebuild their lives.
If relief goods are not distributed, then the donations and repacking efforts we’re seeing here in Manila will be in vain. Blocked roads can’t and shouldn’t impede distribution, at least not in the scale we’re seeing. As Tatay pointed out, during the elections there were countless choppers hovering over the region – those are nowhere in sight now. Let’s use those to reach isolated areas. In a Facebook group of Waraynons sharing updates about the disaster, someone pointed out that we should take advantage of the bodies of water surrounding the region and bring in relief goods by boats.
If we don’t immediately address the scarcity of basic necessities in areas severely hit by Yolanda, the effects will ripple on and create chaos in more and more towns.