Sunday, December 22, 2013

Another busy week

It's been a long, busy week in Tacloban. I spent a day in the field with one of our distribution teams, who started distributing tarpaulins, ropes, nails and hammers to families to provide them with a bit of temporary shelter. I was so incredibly impressed by the team. Most of them are university students, who were affected by the typhoon themselves but have been volunteering with us over their holidays. They are so enthusiastic and happy to be part of the response. I watched them stand in the baking sun, registering community members and handing them jerry cans and water treatment bottles, along with the tarps. I joined them in a row from the truck to the very organised lines of people, handing tarp after tarp down the line. They kept saying "ma'am Carly, you should go and stand in the shade," but were delighted when I told them that I was their assistant for the day. They told their team leader that they'd loved having me with them for the day as it forced them to practice their English (which is very good as it is!)

I spent yesterday morning around Tacloban city, figuring out where we could distribute more tarps. We drove along one stretch of road, just beside the water, and the devastation was mind boggling. The driver told me that after the typhoon, everything that had once made the houses along the water line had been blown onto the road and the other side. The road was now clear, and there were just piles and piles of timber, iron sheeting, and other household goods stacked up beside the road. One 6x4m tarp isn't going to go a long way here, as these families have basically nothing left, but I hope it will go some way to keeping them dry in the rain we've been having.

At one stop there were military and police hanging around, and they didn't want to let us walk down the road to the community we wanted to visit. We found out that the UN Secretary General was going to be visiting, but not for a couple of hours, so they finally let us through. There was a hive of activity going on, with people cleaning the road further, and trying to tidy up a little bit more. Looking around and noticing what had survived the typhoon was so interesting, a wall here, a door there, a toilet sitting out in the open. I haven't seen any of the coverage of Ban Ki Moon's visit, but I hope it brings more attention to the response, and the vast amounts of work left to be done.
And so now it's Sunday and we have the whole day off. It really doesn't feel like Christmas in just a few days. 

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