1,100 People Displaced; Need Food, Clothes, Hope

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Medic Mike

Firefighters use a wooden table as a shield as they battle the fire at Palma Street. (CDN PHOTO/ JUNJIE MENDOZA)


Rhodel San Luis, a porter, joined his family and other fire victims for a  meal of steamed  rice, boiled eggs and hotdogs on  a sidewalk along S. Osmeña Road near the SRP tunnel.

He told Cebu Daily News that his family slept on cardboard sheets  after losing their homes in Friday’s fire that hit  Palma Street, Cebu City.

The emergency meals  from the city’s social welfare office will continue for three days.

But after that,  fire victims who number over 1,100, will have to rely on their own resoures and hopefully,  donations of food, clothes, mats, and other basic needs from generous givers.

The social welfare office said donations can be coursed to their office.

Sharing a 1.5 liter of Coke with his five children, San Luis said he doesn’t want to sleep in the San Roque gym because “it’s too crowded.”

At least 252 families or 1,100 persons were displaced by the fire that hit parts of barangay San Roque and Tinago — only one of four fires on Friday.

The fire victims have to take shleter in the public gym of San Roque since the fire site is still a danger zone with hot debris all around.

Another victim, Maricris Rusiana, wept as she and her eldest child sorted through remnants of  their burnt home.

“Wala man jud nabilin oi bisag usa kabook sinina (nothing remained not even one piece of clothing),” said a nine-months pregnant Rusiana.

Her family slept inside the overcrowded San Roque gym last Friday.

Esther Concha, DSWS chief, said the evacuation sites are available for one week.

“Maybe we can  extend them for one more week. As of the moment, I can’t answer if there are relocation sites for them,” she said.

Social workers are updating the list of fire victims to know who will avail of  P10,000 cash aid including housing materials and disaster kits for each family.

Traffic enforcers were posted in the area.

The fire site is a government-owned lot, said acting Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella, which removes some of the anxiety that a private owner would use the tragedy to evict settlers.

Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s north district also visited the San Roque gym to distribute relief goods.

Portable toilets will be set up in the area soon, said Alvin Santillana, operations chief of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.

Santillana said donors can visit the city social welfare office, the evacuation center  or approach  social workers in the barangay.



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