From Julah Iquina
Kalibo residents going hungry, still waiting for relief
By CARMELA FONBUENA
It’s been five days since Typhoon Frank ravaged the town of Kalibo in Aklan but the municipal government is yet to receive relief assistance from the government. abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak received reports that residents there are going hungry. They have to fight over the limited supply of food and water available. Prices of commodities have gone up, too.
"So far we haven’t received relief assistance. The municipal government does not have the money to buy the people’s needs," Kalibo Mayor Raymar Rebaldo told abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak when we called him to verify the reports.
"There’s no food. There’s no water," said resident Ursula Equiña. "Stores are closed because they were damaged by the typhoon."
One supermarket opened today but Equiña said people are "panic buying." The lines are long and not all people can go inside the store to buy what they need, she said. "They have to fight with the others to go inside." Equiña had to go to another town to buy her family’s supply.
The mayor said there’s a shortage of potable water because the local water district cannot operate. The generator is submerged up to now. Not all areas have water pumps.
The mayor of neighboring town of Capiz , who is a friend of Rebaldo, promised to lend Kalibos’s water district a generator but the town has yet to receive it. The local distributor of Nature’s Spring mineral water in another town also allowed the municipal government to loan three container vans of waters to Kalibo. But they have yet to arrive, too.
Because of limited supply, the prices of all commodities have gone up. A ganta (2.4 kilos) of commercial rice, which sold at P65 to P70 before the typhoon, now sells at P120 to P150. Fortunately, the National Food Authority loaned the municipal government several sacks of rice. Rebaldo said these have been distributed to the poorest residents of the different barangays. But the supply will not last very long.
"These are all on loan. We don’t have money in the municipal government," Rebaldo said.
The flashflood also killed most of the livestock of the town. "In one barangay, 200 cows drowned," the mayor said. Many pigs, chicken and carabaos also died during the typhoon, he said. Water reached a low of 8 feet to a high of 12 feet in the entire town. The waters are gone now but mud is up to one foot high. Kalibo is the catch basin of Aklan. (Aklan means river in English.)
"We have rice but we don’t have viand," Rebaldo said. Abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak received a report that residents are afraid that the meat sold in the market are double-dead. Prices of fish—which come from Iloilo province—have gone up, too.
Aklan is a province of western Visayas, the worst hit by Typhoon Frank. The neighboring town of Malay (where Boracay is located), which is on the other side of the island is okay. It was Kalibo that faced Frank’s wrath over the weekend.
The National Disaster Coordinating Council has since Monday flown C-130 planes to deliver relief goods to the region. Apparently, Kalibo was not able to get a share.
Vice President Noli De Castro visited Kalibo today but he was not able to meet with Rebaldo. "The coordinator [of De Castro’s trip] told me to meet the Vice President Noli De Castro at the airport, but I cannot leave the municipal hall because people are already fighting over food and water supply," he told abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak