PALO, LEYTE – Seventy-five year-old Carlos Celada is an agricultural worker in the municipality of Palo in Leyte province, one of the areas badly affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan. He works as a tenant farmer for a 2.5 hectare rice farm, and also looks after coconut trees for his livelihood.
“During the typhoon, the coconut trees were hitting our house. There were seven of us – including my grandchildren – in the house, so we decided to seek shelter in a nearby school. Unfortunately, Typhoon Haiyan also blew off the roof of the school where we evacuated to,” Carlos recounts.
He says that he and his family stayed in the school for the night, but the next day they decided to go back to their house. “We used the debris from the other destroyed houses to rebuild ours,” he shares.
Carlos is thankful his family was not badly affected by Typhoon Haiyan, but admits that the calamity has had an impact on his livelihood. “The coconut trees were badly affected. I share half of the profits with the owner from those coconut trees, but now they’re gone,” Carlos says.
As assistance continues to arrive for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, much hope remains for Carlos and his family. In fact, Carlos has just received PhP1,300 (about USD30) from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), which is providing the money as a form of emergency cash assistance to the most vulnerable families hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
The amount that WFP has provided is on top of the PhP2,200 (about USD50) he has also just received from the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development’s flagship anti-poverty programme, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino (Bridging Filipino Families out of Poverty) Program.
WFP is using the DSWD’s well-established system since the people that WFP had identified through independent assessments also turned out to be members of the DSWD’s conditional cash transfer programme. The WFP emergency cash assistance is intended to allow beneficiaries to buy additional food items to complement the WFP rice they have received from earlier distributions.
Carlos says that he will use the money he just received to buy food, especially viands. “If we have some of this money left by Christmas, I will definitely buy food for this holiday,” he says.