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Having faith in the mission: the Ruby Emergency Response in Catbalogan City

A man carries the ActionAid foodpacks in Barangay Cagutsan for relief distribution.

A man carries the ActionAid foodpacks in Barangay Cagutsan for relief distribution.

The aftermath of the Typhoon Hagupit was a damp and bleak. Electricity was out and one could hear the chorus of generators across the city. Daylight was a blessing; nighttime was almost a curse—streets were only lit by the lights coming from passing vehicles and stores relied on candles and emergency lights. It was as if the whole town was deserted.

The rains though, didn’t stop the team from Balay Mindanaw to respond to the needs of the people in the Barangays of Mombon, Cagutsan, Cinco and Rama. These island barangays belong to the greater Siera Group of Islands located an hour away from the mainland of Catbalogan City. Composed of seven island barangays, the islands is regarded as one of the tourist spots in Catbalogan City.

Barangay Cagutsan residents waiting patiently for the distribution to start.

Barangay Cagutsan residents waiting patiently for the distribution to start.

The aftermath of Typhoon Hagupit, locally known as Ruby tore some parts of the areas where Yolanda once traversed—leaving a lot of properties destroyed and/or partially damaged. In the Siera Group of Islands alone, a total of 1,104 (as of December 15, 2014) totally and partially damaged houses were put on the list of the CSWD. 761 totally and partially damaged houses were listed from the four island barangays of Mombon, Cagutsan, Rama and Cinco.

On the relief operations held on December 16, 282 food packs, 846 water bottles and 282 hygiene kits were distributed to Barangay Cagutsan. Although, there are still 18 remaining food packs, 52 bottles of water and 12 sets of hygiene kits were stored at the CSWD warehouse for the use of the LGU of Catbalogan.

Tarpaulins were also distributed to the people in Barangay Mombon, Rama and Cinco. A total of 800 sets of tarpaulins were distributed for the barangays mentioned plus Barangay Cagutsan.

From left: Tecson Lim of the city government of Tacloban, Mayor Tan of Catbalogan City, the former mayor, and Punong Barangay Lomuardo of Barangay Rama confering on the relief operations activity for the day at Catbalogan Pier II.

From left: Tecson Lim of the city government of Tacloban, Mayor Tan of Catbalogan City, the former mayor, and Punong Barangay Lomuardo of Barangay Rama confering on the relief operations activity for the day at Catbalogan Pier II.

The food packs contained the following:

  • 9 kilos of rice
  • 4 cans of sardines
  • 2 cans of beef loaf
  • 2 cans of meat loaf
  • 2 cans of corned beef
  • 10 packs of noodles
  • 1 bottle of cooking oil
  • Sugar, milk and milo

On the other hand, the hygiene kit contained:

  • 1 tube of toothpaste
  • 5 pieces of toothbrush
  • 10 sachets of shampoo
  • 2 pieces of bath soap
  • 2 rolls of tissue paper
  • 1 pack of sanitary napkin

Moreover, 3 bottles of 4 liters of water were also provided for every household in every barangay.

Loading of relief goods onboard at Catbalogan Pier 2. The boat will later on have engine difficulties before reaching the first target barangay.

Loading of relief goods onboard at Catbalogan Pier 2. The boat will later on have engine difficulties before reaching the first target barangay.

Tecson John Lim and company was also present during the relief operations done by Balay Mindanaw response team. Lim’s team aimed to assess the some barangays in the Siera Group of Islands. Another team from the city government was also present to assess the infrastructural damage in Barangay Rama as it was one of the badly hit areas, with them are drones to help them assess the overall damage in Barangay Rama.

ActionAid foodpacks stored at the Catbalogan City Hall under the care of City Social Welfare and Development Office of Miss Nida Aroza.

ActionAid foodpacks stored at the Catbalogan City Hall under the care of City Social Welfare and Development Office of Miss Nida Aroza.

– Rona Marie Avenido

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