Two years on, post-Yolanda recovery continues in municipality of Julita, Leyte.
Evelyn R. Paltad,a municipal bookkeeper of almost thirty years, remembers the events of November 8, 2013. The destruction, she says, was “unimaginable.”
“We were at home when Yolanda struck,” she says. “Then, I heard our neighbors start screaming, because of the strong winds and heavy rains. So we all ran to the municipal building until the winds subsided. It was overcrowded with people, and we crammed ourselves in.”
Local engineering staff Delia Tenebro shares similarly surreal memories. “I saw how the strong winds were lifting all the trees and houses straight up from the ground,” she says. She watched on as galvanized roofs “flew around like birds in the sky.” Some say that the super typhoon left not a single home in the municipality unaffected.
The slow road to recovery
Infrastructure in Julita sustained extensive damage during the disaster. Among these were the local public market, civic center and municipal building.
With support from RAY DILG funds, repairs are now underway. While the municipal building remains under construction, local government employees enjoy a temporary office inside the newly-rehabilitated civic center.
The local public market has also been repaired, and will soon be occupied again by local market vendors, providing the people of Julita with convenient access to food, produce and supplies.
“These are all really good signs that we are almost recovered,” Delia says.
Evelyn agrees. “I really look forward for the day that everything will go back to normal,” she says. “We have not yet fully recovered, since there are still facilities in need of repair, especially houses. We are just grateful because DILG and other NGOs assisted us as we move forward.”
This longer-term recovery has also seen shifts in local attitudes towards disasters. “Since Yolanda, the people here don’t underestimate typhoons anymore,” Delia says. “Even if the storm Signal is only number 2, we now take it seriously and take necessary actions.”