The municipality of Jaro, Leyte, was shattered by Super Typhoon Yolanda: with almost ninety percent of the municipality flattened by the gale-force winds and strong rains.
Roberta ‘Betty’ B. Lego, a registered nurse, was one of those who helped to provide much needed medical support during the disaster. She has since become part of of the local MDRRM team. This is her story: of survival and resilience, and of life and of death.
“By November 6, residents who live along the river side evacuated here in the gymnasium (civic center), as this served as an evacuation center. Of course, some were hesitant to evacuate because the weather was fine.
Most of the injuries I attended to were wounds – mostly due to flying galvanized iron sheets that had flown off roofs. I also had a patient who had serious lacerations – he had been hit by a steel bar. Since we didn’t have enough dextrose that time, we had to prioritize the victims depending on the extent of their injuries.
Yolanda’s wind was very strong. At one stage, I was about to be blown off by the winds – one of my colleagues here saved my life. He grabbed me, just in time.
Then, the roof above us began pulling off… We realized that it was no longer safe for the evacuees in the civic center. They were transferred to Jaro Central School, next door.
While most of our barangay captains and volunteers were equipped and many had been trained, some still ran out of food. It took one week for relief goods to arrive.
On November 9, on top of the roof of the gymnasium, one of our colleague painted “we need food” (for nearby helicopters to see).
At that point, since the health center was also damaged, we were still attending to patients in the gym.
On the night of November 10, a mother arrived at the gymnasium. She was moaning… I went to inspect her, and realized that the baby’s head was crowning! I told her to lie down, and with the MDRRM staff as my midwife, we successfully performed the delivery. It was a baby girl. Both mother and baby were healthy, and safe.”
Juvy G. Parado, a local municipal accountant, also recalled his memories of the calamity and of Jaro’s continued recovery:
“Yolanda is the strongest I have experienced in my entire life. During the typhoon, you cannot see anything clearly, all you can see is white because of the strong winds.
My car was parked inside the gate. Then out of nowhere, a wooden table flew and hit my car.
In our municipal building, the roof and ceiling were damaged. Water came in and flooded our offices, and all our our documents and office equipment got wet.
When the RAY DILG fund came, we rehabilitated our municipal hall and civic center. This meant that funds that we would otherwise allocate for repairs, we could instead use to buy necessary office equipment.
Now, we can work comfortably in our offices and serve effectively to our people.
After our civic center was repaired, we were able to conduct DRRM trainings there. We usually invite a maximum of ten volunteers per barangay, but sometimes the number exceeds because many people want to know more about DRRM.
People here are more involved in these activities. Especially now that there is a climate change, we should really take care of our environment because it will just affect us. For example, we’ve started conducting tree planting activities in our town. Like now, we abused (the environment), that’s why we have experienced Yolanda and all other calamities.”