Percival N. Cabales has worked at the Office of the Mayor in Capoocan, Leyte, for more than fourteen years. The Yolanda survivor shares his story:

Municipal employee Percival N. Cabales
Municipal employee Percival N. Cabales

 “Before Yolanda made landfall, I was at home. Then I heard that the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) was telling people to evacuate, as they expected this to be a strong typhoon.

Immediately, the local government assigned the church, gymnasium (civic center), municipal hall, schools and the DRRMC tents as evacuation centers…

Yolanda was the worst typhoon I have experienced. It was the strongest. There are no typhoons that I can compare it to, with that kind of strength. During the typhoon, you will really ask yourself if you will survive.

The wind was very strong. You can see the wind forming in circles, and the sound was haunting. The strength of the wind can blow you away.

I wasn’t sure if we had experienced a storm surge, but there was flood on the streets that lasted for just a few hours.

The houses along the coastal areas were all washed out. Most of the facilities here were damaged: schools, churches,  municipal building, gymnasium, market and others.”

With support from RAY DILG

 “Afterwards, we received the RAY DILG fund for rehabilitation works. The fund extended by DILG was immediate and important to our town. When we got the money, the repair and rehabilitation works became the priority of the local government.

After our civic center was repaired, new roof framing and sheets, and electrical wirings were installed – the community was able to use it for sports events, seminars and trainings conducted by the local government and parties. It is also being used as reception venue for local weddings.”

Basketball players in the newly-rehabilitated Capoocan Civic Center
Basketball players in the newly-rehabilitated Capoocan Civic Center

A shift in attitudes

The behavior of the people here have changed significantly since Yolanda. Before, the attitude of the people would be: ’its just a typhoon, we are used to it, we can survive it’ Now, theres a noticeable shift. People are more alert, and they monitor weather forecasts. The people themselves are more involved, unlike before, when it would just be the local government monitoring events.

We are still recovering. It will still be a long road for recovery, but so many national government agencies are assisting us especially for livelihood programs.

(Super) Typhoon Yolanda was unforgettable. People will move on, but the learning and experience will live within us and serve as a reminder for us for future calamities.”


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