Inayawan fire victims still hope for a good Christmas
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Even if the fire victims of Barangay Inayawan in Cebu City lost their homes a mere five days before Christmas, they still hope for a good Christmas.
The 68 families, or at least 318 individuals, are currently housed at the Barangay Inayawan gym following the fire that destroyed 50 houses in Sitio Lourdes past 4:40 p.m. of December 20, 2019.
The Cebu City Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) personnel assigned to the area said the families needed clothes, food, blankets, sleeping mats, and even medicine as common diseases could spread easily with the cold weather.
Helen Noynay, 49, said she lost most of her belongings in the fire, but she was thankful that her family’s lives were spared.
Noynay lived with her husband and daughter in their now-burned down-home.
Noynay said they would try to go home to General Santos City, where her family hails from, so they could spend Christmas under a solid roof.
“Maayo untag mahatagan mig building materials aron makatukod tawn mig balik sa among balay. (I hope we will be given building materials so we can rebuild our home),” said Noynay.
Priscilla Padin, 69, will be celebrating her 70th birthday on December 23, 2019, but after she lost in the fire, she said would not be celebrating it this year.
She even lost the P2,000 she had hidden inside her now-burnt home. The money was supposed to be for her birthday celebration.
“Birthday unta lagi nako. Pasko pa gyod. Wala gyoy nabilin namo. Nindot kaayo og gift ang Ginoo nako, sa? (It is supposed to be my birthday. It is also Christmas. We lost everything. God has given me a nice gift, right?)” she told CDN Digital.
Even though she lost everything, she said she was grateful that her three grandchildren, whose ages are 5, 4, and 3 years old and who are living with her, were safe.
She said that when the fire started, she gathered all her grandchildren and prioritized their safety over saving her belongings.
Padin said she was hoping that the government could help them stand back on their feet after the tragedy.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella told CDN Digital that the city government was working on providing additional help to the victims aside from the P10,000 and P5,000 financial assistance normally given to owners and sharers of burned homes.
The mayor already ordered the release of the financial assistance to be hastened so the families would have money before the holidays.
Labella said the city might provide sacks or rice and other groceries so the families could at least celebrate Christmas even in the evacuation.
“Dili gyod nato sila pasagdan karong pasko. (We will not leave them without nothing this Christmas),” said Labella in a phone interview.
The city also plans to provide building materials to the victims to help them rebuild their homes.
Labella is set to visit the site on Saturday, December 21, 2019, to check the fire site and assess if a reblocking will be necessary.| dbs
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