On September 3, 2019, Tzu Chi volunteers from Manila, Bohol, and Davao all come together to survey a purok (or division) of Barangay Talomo Proper that was hit by a severe storm and flood on the 28th of August, to be able to plan out the Davao Cleanup Drive and Cash for Work Program.
It was on the 3rd of September 2019, that Tzu Chi volunteers from different parts of the Philippines came together to mobilize the Davao Cleanup Drive and Tzu Chi Cash for Work Program.
After being greeted at the airport by the Davao Tzu Chi volunteers, the Manila team all gather and wait for the representative from Bohol before heading to Barangay Talomo Proper. Purok 62 (Purok is a division of a barangay or village) is one of the worst hit areas that Tzu Chi decided to help.
Coming into the entrance itself, the team can see the devastation that the flood left. The mud cakes the road and piles up in soft sludge that sinks you easily when you put your weight on it. Bits of glass, rock, nails and other debris litter the area and makes navigating the purok hard.
After being greeted by Jun Jovilio, the Purok Leader, he reported thus; “There are more or less 654 families in my area that was affected. The water levels that flooded the area aren’t the same; down south was about 12 feet deep, here in the higher areas was about 6-7 feet deep”.
“There was an advisory at the barangay around 4:00 am for evacuation because we knew that the rains were already heavy at Calinan and Tugbok. Unfortunately, there were a few that misunderstood or thought that the rain wouldn’t get stronger so they did not follow the advisory. They only started to evacuate when the waters came in but it was too late to walk because the current was strong and then the waters suddenly rose. So what the residents did and what our Barangay Captain ordered, is to make people stay put at the upper floors of stable houses so they are safe, especially the kids. Around 2 pm, we had a report about one possible missing person. We thought the worst had happened but by 5 pm we found that person. Thank God there’s no casualty. There were no lives lost in this area”.
After the quick survey, the Tzu Chi team gathered together in an open area at the center of the purok, and Jun called a few of the villagers and village leaders to gather around. After introducing the Tzu Chi team of volunteers and staff, Michael Siao and James Chua took turns laying out the plan to Tzu Chi staff and purok villagers about what is to happen the next day. All block leaders are to gather anyone who is willing and able to work.
Virgie Santiago, one of the block leaders supplied Tzu Chi on what happened to their area. “My husband is part of the disaster division in Barangay Talumo and someone advised us to evacuate because the waters is rising. We went outside to go to the evacuation center, others with second floors did not leave their homes. When the waters began rising, they went up the second floor and when the waters reached the second floor, they have to go to the roof.”
After carefully making a few more rounds and mapping out Barangay Talomo Proper, Tzu Chi volunteers of Manila, Bohol, and Davao went to Davao City Hall to have a talk with representative of Davao City Social Services to inform them of the plans that will take place in Purok 62 the next day.