The Fight Shifts / by John Javellana

A survivor made homeless by Yolanda takes a bath inside a makeshift evacuation center inside a school campus in Tacloban

Children try to cross stagnant water with the help of school chairs that serve as makshift bridges within the premises of an evacuation center inside a school campus in Tacloban.

A mother with her child inside a school that has been converted into an evacuation center in Tacloban

An evacuation center in Palo, Leyte. A lot of evacuation centers here have unbearable living conditions

Scabs being scratched until they turn into open wounds again. Little feet wading through stagnant water which clearly nested a new generation of mosquitoes. The mud that has turned into soot filling various pathways in the maze of mats that would be the sleeping spaces of an entire family or even two once night falls and the world begins to sleep.

It’s hard to imagine how this was once a school built for children to pursue the dreams of a nation and have better lives. Today it is a space for lives that have fought and unspeakably hard fight to survive a monster called Yolanda. 

Today the fight no longer involves hurricane-like winds and tsunami like storm surges. Today the fight is how to stay alive - healthy and as normal as people can be. To call the living conditions of the people who were able to survive inhumane is something that no longer needs validity. People will slowly begin to die in these conditions. 

Every single survivor I have met and had the chance to speak to have never been short of thankful for how much love and care the world has given as they know they are still alive because of the aid and relief. It has been pouring. And they owe their lives to every single donation that the world has given.

The survivors need help to figure out a way to live for the long-term. It now turns into restoring human dignity and providing liveable spaces for the people who have lost so much.