A source in the Philippines states that there is little support from the government in the wake of Super Typhoon Rai (known locally as Odette) that hit the island on the 16th December 2021.
The Philippines continued attempts to recover in the wake of Super Typhoon Rai (or Odette as it is locally known) that hit the island of Siargao on the 16th December 2021. Not two months have passed and the Philippines is at risk of a second typhoon hitting as tracked by Pagasa Weather Bureau.
Siargao (pre-covid-19) like much of the Philipines has had a strong tourism led economy and was voted the best island in Asia to visit by Conde Nast Traveller 2021.
It is reported that around 1,8 million people have had their homes destroyed by super typhoon Rai, these people have been displaced and lost everything. I had the chance to speak to a Siargao Island resident recently that states that the government intervention has been little to non. For her safety we shall call her Amelie.
She states that:
For Amelie to challenge and to even speak out against the Pilipino government risks her being shot in the head.
‘…little to no warning was given about the typhoon or its strength until 8AM that day…’
At 8:00 AM the electricity went out, the alert of the ‘Super Typhoon due to hit’ was sent the same morning and by then it was too late to do anything about it. At midday a message saying it was a ‘Signal 4’ (the highest being a Signal 5); but she believes that it was a signal 5 typhoon.
‘…the only real help seems to be from private organizations and people who care about the island….’
Amelie says that she saw the ‘…Red Cross but that other NGO’s were a no show…’.
A lone comment on the blog reads
Pano po pag mga damit ang idodonate?
‘How about donating clothes?’ posted 16.12.21
She (Amelie) states that ‘…around 8 billion pesos (£11,5292.83 pounds sterling) has been received by international aid, however where the money is going remains to be seen…’
Al Jazeera have reported a so the 15 January 2022 that the Philippines are to acquire missile system from India for $375 Million (£27700,2187.50 Pound Sterling).
Amelie ‘…Philippines buying missiles, helicopters and army equipment but have no money for aid to their own population…’
Amelie is fortunate enough that part of her house remained in tact through super typhoon Rai, She described how she couldn’t see anything out the window, even the neighbours house. How she hid in the bathroom with her dogs as the storm raged outside. She describes how her ears popped as the typhoon engulfed the island.
She is still without electricity and running water, and says that the only reason that the island is healing is due to foreigners and ex-pats that have an interest in the beautiful island.
People are dying from sicknesses due to drinking dirty water.
It was ‘…insane…’ and I kept thinking that ‘…if I don’t die form this typhoon, I’m gonna die of fear…’
‘[About the government]…they just left us…’
As I speak to her voice quivers on the line, her anger is palpable; frustration and exacerbation at the forefront of her recounting the experience of surviving the super typhoon.
‘The Philippines are one of the most vulnerable from the impact of climate change and typhoons in the world’.
After the typhoon hit Amelia was able to get to her neighbours who helped her with food and water. Then the wait began. She describes how 5 days passed and they heard nothing, no food, no water, no phone signal.
‘…We have nothing left…’
‘’… no one came for us… the government didn’t come for us…’.
She describes how during those 5 days waiting that the rain continued to fall mercilessly. How people who had lost their homes sat in the rain where there houses used to stand, and describes the hopelessness etched onto their faces. ‘… the community help one another with what they can, ‘…but when nobody has anything there isn’t enough…’.
Amelia states that the Pilipino media focus is on Covid-19 and elections.
‘I’m talking about something that is real, just by talking about it I could be shot’.
Amelie’s greatest fear is that due to Covid-19 taking up so much of the media sphere that the Philippines will be forgotten.
Please check out the Save Siargao page.