Tuesday, February 25, 2014

No more fearful nights for Mejoradas in Loon
By Rey Anthony H. Chiu

TAGBILARAN CITY, February 24 (PIA)— Excitement visibly seen on the face of Gilda Mejorada, a day before she and her family finally moves to an emergency bunkhouse, set up for them and 100 other families in Loon town who were rendered homeless after the devastating October 15 earthquake.

She and her husband will finally sleep soundly and worry-free in their one bedroom, quake-compromised house in barangay Napo, in loon, Bohol.

Mejorada, 39, lives in a semi-concrete house in a fishing village just below the hill where the centuries old church also lay in crumbles.

Fish vendors Gilda and her husband Raleigh live close to the port and so they would know if fishing boat lands. They sell ice to keep fish fresh.

So they live in a single storey house, on a reclaimed porting of a sand bar, near the port.

When the earth trembled on October 15, a huge crack appeared that broke their house into two, ugly cracks still visible now on its floor.

Some of these manageable cracks she hides under a vinyl carpet purchased from a budget store in Loon.

In the inside walls of her single bedroom house, traces of ankle deep mud is still visible. Her electric fan still bears the caked mud as water, mud and coral bits gushed out with the liquefaction.

The same surge swallowed half of the classroom of the nearby Napo Elementary School across the street where Gilda’s house was situated.

“We were at the fish market during the earthquake,” she recalls.

As fish middlemen, they also keep a stall at the town market.

When it came, we ran to the open space inside the market complex, the roof might have collapsed anytime she recalled with faint trace of fear still flickering in her eyes.

We ran, but our thoughts were with the kids, Gilda narrated.

Their four children, it being a holiday, took the early morning high tide to swim.

Children Susano 11, Anecito 9, Jasmine 8 and John Vianney 6 were playing happily in the water when the earthquake struck.

There, the water that was up to their necks suddenly withdrew to the sea, leaving only small pools in the area where they were swimming.

The children survived, but were visibly stirred, the youngest cried in fear, she said.

When they got home, the house was in total dis-array. They quickly picked a few things before they went up past the church ruins to a safer place.

The town set up evacuation centers in several open spaces in the town plaza or in the school grounds.

“There were stories of a tsunami, when the water at the pier receded”, she admitted and feared it could wash the whole village.

“We only took quick visits to the house, until it was relatively safer to return,” she said.

During the aftershocks, she said the roof buzzed and the beams threatened to fall on them.

“We feared for our lives, but we most especially feared for the lives of our children when the aftershocks come at night,” she shared.

Gilda, along with 99 other families get these disaster resilient emergency shelters in forms of bunkhouses, courtesy of the government, via a project funded by the Philippine Ports Authority. 

Now, with a disaster resilient bunkhouse way up the hills, Gilda and his husband will have no more worries of tsunamis and falling beams. (mbcn/RAHC/PIA7-Bohol)

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