Roxas a no-show at Yolanda commemoration in Capiz

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Hundreds of typhoon victims in Capiz on Saturday commemorated the first anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda, but their prominent provincemate, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, was not there to join them.

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Roxas failed to show up at the Mass for the typhoon victims in the towns of Pilar, Dao, Panay and Pontevedra at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pilar on Agtalen hill.

Thousands of families lost their homes and livelihood when Yolanda battered the Visayas in November 8 last year.

Despite the absence of government support, affected residents have been slowly recovering, boosted by humanitarian aid from a few local and international non-government organizations (NGOs).

Residents welcomed the entry of foreign-based non-government organization HEKS (Swiss Inter-Church Aid) and Task Force Mapalad (TFM), but they felt the government has neglected them and focused on the provinces of Leyte and Samar.

The two organizations, which joined forces in 2012 to help communities ravaged by Typhoon Pablo (Bopha), immediately responded to the needs of Capizeños after Yolanda hit by giving them food kits, shelters, and cash for work.

The groups has provided assistance to at least 2,000 families or 6,000 individuals who are mostly farmers and fisherfolk.

Capiz residents also signed a covenant, “Tindog Capiz!,” with the aim for rebuilding resilience of farmers and fisherfolk.

According to Susanne Kerschbaumer, HEKS delegate, the covenant symbolizes the efforts of the typhoon survivors to move on and make their communities more resilient to disasters.

Kerschbaumer said disaster preparedness is a key to survival and having sufficient information about it is very significant.

Some typhoon survivors recalled their ordeal during the typhoon, while others expressed their “utmost frustration” at the delay in government assistance.

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