Cotabato residents badly hit by quake find ways to get help
MAKILALA, COTABATO — Residents in Barangay Malasila here are worried that coursing aid and donations through the government would further leave them in the cold and limit their chances of surviving the series of quakes which had severely damaged their houses.
Little help from government
“If we continue to wait for the government’s help, we would surely starve,” said a resident of Bliss Malasila whose house was among the row of structures destroyed by the 6.5-magnitude quake that struck Cotabato province on Oct. 31.
Only a stone’s throw away from the Malasila Elementary School where some 600 villagers from landslide-hit Barangay Luayon have been evacuated, Bliss Malasila has not been getting much help from the government whose attention has largely been focused on severely hit areas.
But instead of waiting and complaining, residents came up with creative ways to get help.
On the first days after the strongest quake when their area ran out of potable water and they were told that the water distributed by the government was intended only for villages hit by landslides, they linked up with friends on social media who linked them to people and companies willing to help.
When Dumoy Waters of Davao City heard about their dilemma, it sent them potable water more than enough for this community of more than 100 people, who shared the rest of the excess water with other displaced residents.
That was why residents were worried by the recent call of the government to the private sector to course all aid and donations through the local government.
“Just imagine, if we did not rely on our own and find help outside, we could have starved here by waiting,” said another resident, who asked not to be named.
Less mouths to feed
“At least, the government should be thankful that they have less mouths to feed,” she said.
Other help from friends continued coming in the form of packed goods, blankets and comforters but the community did not keep these to themselves but shared these with other communities who needed help, she said.
Earlier, acting Vice Gov. Shirlyn Macasarte appealed to donors to refrain from giving aid directly to the evacuees and instead course this through the local government.
She said she had heard reports of private donors giving food and water being mobbed by hungry villagers.
Macasarte, chair of the Cotabato’s Incident Management Team, also urged displaced residents to stay at the designated evacuation sites so “we can manage the giving of aid equally and properly document them.” But the residents refused.
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