Understandably, there is an exodus of the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Staying in what has become a hell hole is no longer an option for them. In the worst hit areas, the victims have been doing everything possible to leave their former places of residence, with many vowing never to return.
This vow may be dismissed as being made in the heat of the moment, when they came so close to dying, either because of the storm or because of the lack of support from the government in the form of emergency food, shelter, clothing or medical attention.
With every opportunity, the survivors try and hitch a ride on the planes leaving their hometowns, with those planes almost always leaving either for Cebu or Manila. Naturally, the greater number of planes fly to the National Capital Region.
They have convinced themselves that “anywhere but here” is where they should be.
Meanwhile, commercial planes, boats and buses that head towards the affected areas are also full. Relatives try to head back to their typhoon-struck hometowns in order to extend help or search for still missing kin. They have read in the newspapers and seen and heard on TV and radio of how desperate the plight of their relatives has become.
This traffic from one place to the other must be stopped. If this is not possible, at the very least it should be regulated.
The coming and going of people is not helping stabilize the situation at ground level. If anything, the mass movement of people to and from the devastated areas is another burden to a government already ill-equipped to handle the crisis.
All of us understand how difficult it must be for those joining the exodus. Because the places they once called home has ceased to exist, yet they must continue to survive; but not in the very places where they were so brutally traumatized by Nature run amuck.
Metro Manila may seem like a great place to start their lives anew, but in many cases they will discover that their situation has gone from bad to worse. This is especially true for those who have no friends and/or relatives who can take them in after they survived the wrath of Typhoon Yolanda.
For these poor victims, they may find that the metropolis is an impossible place to stay in if there is no one to turn to, and if there is no sure source of income.
Some may resort to begging. Or worst, some will be forced to prostitution, or a life of crime.
Before they take that one-way trip out of their demolished residence and into an unknown place, they must first think, and think hard.
For its part, the government should prepare them mentally and emotionally for the drastic move they are taking. It may be next to impossible to talk them out of it, but at least they should know what to expect, and it won’t be pretty.
It would infinitely be better if they are led to a safer place instead, much closer to home. Areas which have been destroyed can be repaired. It may take months or years or decades. But ultimately, most of the victims will long for the place they once called home, and can do so again.