February 24, 2018
Second wave of love for Urduja survivors in Ormoc
By Jamaica Digo
Tzu Chi Foundation once again extended aid to the residents of Great Love City affected by the massive flooding brought by Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-Tak) in December 2017.
On February 24, 2018 the first of two sessions of cash aid distributions was held at Barangay Lilo-an covered court. It benefitted 532 families.
As it did during the emergency phase of its relief work for the victims back in December, Tzu Chi modified the amount of cash aid to be given according to the number of family members. For families with three members and less, Tzu Chi gave out Php3,000. Families with four to five members were given Php4,000 while those with six members up received Php5,000.
In order to gather accurate information about the beneficiaries, local Tzu Chi volunteers of Ormoc conducted home visits days before the aid distribution.
“Our assistance last time was only intended as an emergency aid so this time we came back to give another set of assistance to these people,” says Tzu Chi volunteer Michael Siao.
During the relief program, cheers erupted across the venue when the villagers found out about Tzu Chi’s gift for them.
Although initially surprised by the announcement, Anita Tagalog, 45, already had in mind what to do with the cash aid.
“I am planning to buy cement to repair the flooring of our house, which sustained a few damages after Tropical Storm Urduja,” says Anita. “After the flood, Tzu Chi had extended help already and now they’re back to help us yet again. We are very touched and thankful to Master Cheng Yen for her concern.”
After the distribution, Angie Cabulong, 44, went to the Pharmacy. “My daughter is ill so I will use the money to purchase supply of her maintenance medicines for the coming weeks,” explains Angie whose eldest, 19-year-old Marycris, suffers from Hypokalemia, a condition where the body has low supply of potassium and calcium.
Due to financial constraints, there were times when Marycris skipped taking her medicines, which cost over Php450 a day. A week before Tzu Chi’s aid distribution, Marycris had only been discharged from the hospital after yet another attack.
“If I don’t take my medicines, my body slowly weakens,” Marycris shares. “It could start in my legs and I wouldn’t be able to walk, or it could start in my hands and I wouldn’t be able to move until it spreads throughout my body.”
Despite this, Marycris doesn’t let her condition hinder her from living normally and dreaming a better life for her family. On February 28, she will be graduating from a three-month vocational training course on Housekeeping.
“I just keep praying and I refuse to dwell on my situation. As long as my body allows it, I will continue to live bravely,” Marycris says, wiping her tears.
Meanwhile, apart from cash, the villagers also received ang paos, which are produced from the royalties of Tzu Chi founder Master Cheng Yen’s books. Every year, the Master gives out the red packets as a symbol of blessings and her way of thanking the Tzu Chi members, supporters, donors, and aid beneficiaries.
Touched by Tzu Chi’s help, beneficiaries responded by committing to become donating members. A total of 2, 296 individuals pledged to donate a minimum of one peso every day to help their needy fellowmen. With this, the cycle of goodness in Ormoc will continue.
For details on how you can contribute in Tzu Chi’s endeavors, visit http://tzuchi.org.ph/how-to-help/donation/