People pick up the threads of life in Palo

Market stalls have already begun to spring up again, selling fruit and vegetables and next week some schools will reopen in typhoon ravaged Palo city.

Philippines
Dec 06 2013, 3:28 PM
People pick up the threads of life in Palo
A photo of people walking among debris in Palo (news.yahoo.com)

People in the city of Palo are struggling to get back to their routine, weeks after Typhoon Haiyan devastated their lives.

Market stalls have already begun to spring up again, selling fruit and vegetables and next week some schools will reopen in typhoon ravaged Palo city. Hope remains as children continue to play amid the tired elderly, who queue patiently waiting their turn in distribution lines.

“A cross stands high over the city of Palo, a little askew and battered by the wind but holding on strong,” said Mark Mitchell, Caritas Emergency Team Leader in the Philippines. That cross is symbolic.

Mitchell is a Humanitarian Programme Officer Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, who responded to the Caritas Internationalis call after Haiyan devastated Philippines.

In Tacloban, Mitchell met Abilene Abihar, a living example of resilience. She and her family live in a small community of about 100 people. She said that 30 people had died in the storm.

They have received a small amount of food through the church and will receive more from Caritas soon. They have started to rebuild temporary shelters with reclaimed timber and straightened out some galvanised iron sheeting for the roof. A Christmas tree stands on a small porch as if in defiance of the chaos of the world around it.

The airport in Tacloban has been reduced to a shell but crammed full of local flights airlines and the heavy-lift C130 defence aircraft from around the world. Every fuel station in the area is destroyed leading to a shortage of fuel. With challenges abound, including blocked and damaged roads, it is a slow process getting the aid out to those that so urgently need it.

Catholic Relief Services have been distributing hygiene kits and setting up water supply materials to provide drinking water to a community, where everyone has been affected to some degree by Typhoon Haiyan.

Source: Caritas Internationalis website

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