NEWS from mobile phone contacts says no traffic can get through so everyone is walking for miles trying to get supplies. The prisoners are out of the prison with many children and women being raped. Many don’t know where their relatives are. Others have lost all their relatives. Bodies are being put in a mass grave, many unnamed and unknown. The danger will be epidemics if the dead are not disposed of quickly. This next from yahoo news.
Last week Azkals manager Dan Palami was in Singapore’s Changi airport.
And then he got a phone call that changed everything.
He heard that Typhoon Yolanda had barreled into Tacloban, where his parents, brother, and sister-in-law live together in one house. Palami decided to go back home to Manila instead.
The Azkals manager lost contact with his family for two days. When he was finally able to speak to his loved ones, the news was awful.
While his parents, Boy and Sonia, and brother Ted and his wife Heidi were safe, two other members of the Palami household weren’t so lucky.
Rissa and Katkat were two young Tacloban women who the Palamis were helping through college at St. Theresa’s Educational Foundation Tacloban Inc. (STEFTI), the school the Palami family owns. They lived at the Palami house as household help.
The storm surge that came with Yolanda’s winds on Thursday roared into the Palami’s home just 800 meters away from the shore, engulfing the entire first floor up to the ceiling.
“There are tall buildings in between the shore and our house. I thought they would block the waves. But the water still reached my family.”
Palami with the author and others in happier times. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.
Palami’s family members were able to escape to the second floor when the water hit. But Ted was unable to open the door to Rissa and Katkat’s downstairs quarters because the door was jammed in the water. The two young drowned in the onrushing torrent. Ted was able to go upstairs to safety.
Rissa, a first-year Education student in STEFTI, was previously the nanny to Palami’s kids in Manila, but elected to go home to Tacloban to pursue a college education instead. That decision cost her her life.
The Palamis who survived were also in dire straits. According to Dan, he has had only intermittent contact with his family since the tragedy. And the stories they tell are heart-rending.
Dan’s parents must walk six kilometers to the city hall, the only spot with signal and cell phone service, to call Dan. The way there is a dystopian hellhole of devastated homes and debris scattered all over the place.
“But the worst part for them was seeing dead bodies on the way. And realizing that some of the bodies were people they knew, friends and neighbors.”
The four are low on provisions. Biscuits are their only sustenance, and they carefully sip the few remaining bottles of water they have to make them last as long as possible.
Palami tried to send a charter plane from Cebu to pick up his family. But there was only a four-hour window for planes to land in the ravaged Tacloban airport, and since there was no way of contacting the family, it became logistically impossible.
As of the writing of this report, Palami had instructed the four to make the arduous ten-kilometer trek to the airport (his parents are in their seventies) and sleep there while another chartered Cessna is scheduled to take the family to safety on Tuesday.
The Palamis stuck in Tacloban speak of unspeakable anarchy in the streets of Tacloban, where looting is rampant.
“This catastrophe has brought out the best in some people and the worst in others,” Palami laments. His family also tells him that the city jail has been affected, and inmates are roaming free.
Palami has also sent a land convoy over the San Juanico Bridge from Samar to help out relatives. He says a second batch will be on its way soon, with a security detail.
According to Dan the Azkals will do their part to chip in. On Friday there will be a donation drive in Mercato in Taguig from 4 pm until 3 am the next day. For donations in kind, priority items are the essentials: water, ready-to-eat food, mats, blankets, and first aid items.The Azkals’ away friendly at India, which kicks off at 9 pm, will also be aired there live. You may visit the event’s Facebook page for more details.
For now all Palami can do is wait and hope that the chartered plane can indeed bring his family safe to Cebu. Meanwhile he plans for the future in Tacloban.
“I have to build a completely new house. And because of this, I have to think twice about building it in the same place.”
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