BAGANGA, DAVAO ORIENTAL–They'd never experienced anything like it.
Old-timers here say the last storm of this scale passed them in 1912.
A century later, the town of Baganga (pronounced ba-GANG-ga) and its neighbors breezed through warnings of strong gales and signal 3 typhoons.
Then came Pablo.
|Photo by Chiara Zambrano
The warnings this time to prepare or leave were hardly heeded by some. They thought it would be just like the previous ones, where nothing happened.
Pablo passed, but it carried away with it their homes, their food, their livelihood, and for a number, their loved ones and their future.
The sight of children signaling vehicles with palms outstretched is growing familiar to those travelling the roads of this region.
At other roadsides, families and neighbors who lost their homes huddle under makeshift shacks of torn iron roofing, plastic tarp, or banana leaves.
Some have brandished signs saying “Donation pls.” or “Tabang”, the local word for “Help”.
With the civilized world waiting in bated breath for the “end” of the world, their cares tug more at the gut to even worry about it.
They have no choice but to beg, what with relief reaching them scant or relief centers a long walk away.
Sure, help has been arriving–the greater number already a week after the typhoon. But the shocked state of local government in the aftermath hampered early efforts to aid those still alive.
When anchorman Noli De Castro and his news team dropped by Baganga, they were met at the municipal hall by hungry and angry residents wondering where all the relief was going.
They heard some had arrived, but it apparently had not gone to them.