It was cloudy and drizzling outside yet the Municipal Hall of Dagami continued to be packed with people going in and out, with or without umbrellas.
I approached a group of people gathered at the entrance and asked if any of their barangay (village) leaders were there. A couple of them pointed at an unassuming man who had the gentlest smile on his face.
The 60-year-old Barangay Captain, Salvador T. Fumar, invited me to sit with him and told me that he was waiting to see if there was going to be another round of relief goods that would be disseminated by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer that day.
Salvador talking with Angeli by the entrance of the municipal hall, with bystanders listening.
Photo: WFP/Kiky Wirahadi
“There are 235 families in my barangay (Barangay Cabuloran). So far we have distributed five rounds of family relief packs to them,” Salvador recounted. “Our barangay is about 2.5 kilometers from here so I have to hire a tricycle or a small van for 500 pesos (about USD12) a day to transport the relief goods to our community”.
WFP rice is being dispatched through the government’s relief operations led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and through WFP’s NGO partners on the ground.
The Day Yolanda Paid A Visit
“All my life, ever since I was born, I have never encountered winds howl that strongly,” said Salvador. “I was very scared…scared that even the evacuation center we were at was also going to be destroyed.”
As early as 4:30am on that fateful day, Salvador went around his barangay and called on the people to evacuate to the community’s day care centre.
“We were all at the evacuation centre, and I was praying to the high heavens for our safety,” he narrated.
“Right now, there are only four families displaced – one at the day care centre; one at the barangay kitchen hall; another at the barangay hall; and at the barangay outpost”, he reported.
“It cannot be denied that the devastation is immense. Most of the people here are farmers and laborers. I’m thinking about what I can do for our barangay, how I can help us overcome this destruction,” Salvador wondered thoughtfully.