This article is the second installment about Zija Miracle Foundation’s relief effortin Estancia, Iloilo following the November 8 calamitous Typhoon Yolanda, known by its international code name Typhoon Haiyan. It was made possible through additional donations by ZIJA U.S.A.
Earlier, Zija Miracle Foundation was among the non-governmental benefactors that donated millions in pesos in relief aid to Tacloban City, Leyte.
On December 17, a team of eight volunteers consisting of representatives from Manila, Cagayan De Oro City and Iloilo City embarked on a mission to distribute relief goods in Estancia, Iloilo.
The objective was to help barangays that have received lesser attention and aid by relief agencies. This matter was suggested by Vice Governor Raul “Boboy” C. Tupas during prior visits to his office at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol. Further assistance was offered by the Vice Governor by sending his political affairs consultant, Angel Briones, to guide the Zija volunteer team to villages in Estancia.
Indeed, many typhoon victims in recipient barangays shed tears as they received the relief goods, saying they didn’t expect to receive more help.
Coming around the season of holidays, Zija Miracle brought “spaghetti package” to cheer up the victims and their family.
The Super Storm Revisited
On November 8, breaking news on Typhoon Haiyan (Typhoon Yolanda) that flashed on TV and on the Internet focused world attention in the widespread calamity in Tacloban City, Leyte and neighboring places.
In graphic images, the bustling city was made to bear the Apocalyptic brunt of the super storm, code name Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. Cars, ships, rubble, debris and dead bodies were strewn everywhere as storm surges swept a kilometer inland knocking down people, power lines, communications, homes and buildings.
But super typhoon Yolanda didn’t just stop in Tacloban City. With undiminished fury and power, it barreled down to the West hitting islands in Central and Western Visayas with unprecedented destruction to life and property in its wake.
In the Province of Iloilo, a part of Western Visayas region, hardest hit by the disaster was the town of Estancia. It lies 135 kilometers North of the provincial capital, Iloilo City. Similar to the situation in Tacloban City, thousands in Estancia were left homeless and exposed to the elements in the first few days after the catastrophe, drawing mass evacuation to schools and other government facilities. However, there were far fewer casualties. Food and shelter were in short supply as haggard and hungry evacuees overflowed in evacuation centers.
Incidents of looting and overrunning of relief aid convoys by hungry survivors were reported as people scamper for food in the days immediately following the raging weather. Worse, thousands of homeless fisherfolks lost their motorized banca or fishing boat, their means of livelihood before the storm came. Then more bad news: oil spill from the power barge is spreading and polluting rich fishing grounds and corals, dashing hopes of a swift recovery and rehabilitation for the helpless masses.
Storm surges during Typhoon Yolanda knocked off Power Barge No. 103 from its offshore moorings. Power Barge No. 103 of NAPOCOR (National Power Corporation) is estimated to weigh 10,000 tons and laden with 1.2 million liters of bunker fuel.
Turbulent giant waves at the height of Yolanda snapped the offshore mooring lines and tossed up the huge power barge ashore, about a hundred meters away. As a result, the barge was marooned along the shoreline and its hull punctured and leaking 200,000 liters of bunker fuel.
A turn for the worse, the oil spill wasn’t contained rapidly and caused an environmental impact that aggravated by the devastation wrought about by the strongest storm ever to hit land. The fuel leak formed an oil slick that spread over to the waters of other townships along the coast up to a hundred kilometers to the South. It threatened the mangroves, animals and fishing grounds.
As expected, the oil slick on the water turned stale and produced an offensive stench that was unhealthy for people living in the immediate area. Testing of air quality by the Department of Health on November showed elevated levels of benzene and ordered residents to evacuate.
Due to the desperate plight of affected folks, the UNHCR set up an emergency evacuation center called by the locals as tent city for 1,200 individuals inside NIPSC (Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College) campus in Barangay Botongon, Estancia, hundreds of meters away from the shoreline. The hardy Ilonggos, as the locals are called, coined a name for the ‘tent city’ as Yolanda Homes.
Zija Miracle Relief Aid Volunteer Team
Team Leader, Ramir Valenzuela, Manila
Members: Marissa Reyes, Manila
Girlie Laya, Cagayan de Oro
Rose Villarta, Lanao Del Sur
Bernard “Bernie” Combong, Cagayan de Oro
Ringgo Maglunsod, Cagayan de Oro
Morvil Villarin, Iloilo City
Transport: Rey Mantac, Owner/Driver, RC Transport
Security: Jesse Alarcon, Estancia, Iloilo
Brgy. Capt. Edgardo Gonzales, Brgy. San Roque, Estancia, Iloilo
Brgy. Capt. Eric Ramirez, Brgy. Tabuan, Estancia, Iloilo
Brgy. Capt. Dexter Bacus, Brgy. Botongon, Estancia, Iloilo
Lemuel Roem J. Alarcon is a Licensed Insurance Consultant of MAPFRE Insular. He’s an SEO copywriter, blogger, marketing consultant and entrepreneur. He maintains a blog on copywriting at http://coffeemillcopy.wordpress.com. He’s also a co-founder of a marketing and media agency http://visualseocopy.com