The resilience of the human spirit shines through in times of calamities. This has never been more true than in the aftermath of the quake that jolted North Cotabato, Davao Region and some parts of Mindanao on October 16, 29 and 31.
Residents in areas severely affected by the quake, are seen living in tents for fear that another one quake would finally crush their houses to rubbles. Some do not have the basic amenities – water, power and even clothes and food to make it through the day. Assistance, cash and in kind, are pouring in from across the country but quake victims feel their needs are so urgent, and they could not wait for processes to be in place to receive aid which they can see coming as they monitor social media.
We are struck by images shown on TV, wherein private individuals who wanted to help by distributing packs of food were mobbed by residents. From the start, national government agencies already announced that distribution will be done through proper channels so that it will be orderly and avoid confusion.
Mindanews reported that at the Malasila Elementary School, one of the most affected areas, the local camp manager Pio Abonado said a stampede nearly took place when evacuees rushed to be the first to get their hands on donations by individuals who did not coordinate with authorities. We know that the desire to help was strong, but certain processes have to be followed to prevent further chaos.
The command centers set up in various local government units are there to make donations easier to access to all those who were affected. Even if there are reports that some have not been given any form of assistance, we would like to see if our disaster response teams can work their way through all these challenges. The recent quake has tested our resilience and we definitely will emerge the better for this.