Via the Manila Bulletin: Yolanda survivors put on brave face for New Year. Excerpt:
Manila, Philippines – The victims of Yolanda currently living in the “Tent City” in Pasay City try to put on brave faces as they prepare to step into the New Year. But despite their optimism, deep down they said they fear for their future.
“We all want to go back to Tacloban,” said Alvin Gacos, 32, a professor at the Eastern Visayas State University and a part-time professor at the Leyte Normal University. “We don’t want to just stay here and do nothing. But we are all afraid of starting and rebuilding our lives. Where do we do that? We lost everything. How will we pick up the pieces? And life is hard back there,” he said.
One of his biggest concerns is the increased prices of basic goods and commodities. “It’s not true that prices are strictly enforced there. It’s impossible to live with the high prices,” he said.
Alvin recalls sadly how he spent so much money on his house, only to be destroyed within minutes by the super typhoon. This has been the first Christmas and New Year the Gacos family didn’t spend in their own home.
“We are happy we are together, but it is still different because we are not home,” he admitted.
They said that although they are well-fed at the Tent City, people like them who have lived by the sea all their lives miss fish the most. “People are so kind and give us food all the time, often chicken and beef. But we can’t help but miss the taste of fish because we used to eat that all the time.”
Meanwhile 43-year-old Salvador Calvadores is anticipating the New Year will bring so many problems. A father of seven children, he is desperate to find any job in order to feed his family and finish his children’s schooling. He used to be a barangay treasurer and is a single parent.
This is the fourth national disaster he has endured, and he said he must still alive for a reason –and that is to take care of his family.
With a heavy heart, he shared that he cries when he thinks of what comes next. “I hide it from my children, but it’s really difficult. I don’t know what they will do without me, and that is why I need to find a job,” he said.
A woman there said they are in no mood for New Year revelries. “It doesn’t seem appropriate to celebrate, given our situation,” she said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said they had asked the survivors about New Year plans, but the majority opted to just sleep the night away.