Families fill Philippine shelters after deadly storm Tembin

World Today

People gather on a bridge which was damaged by the onslaught of the flooding brought about by tropical storm Tembin, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017 in Zamboanga Del Sur in southern Philippines. Tropical Storm Tembin unleashed flash floods that swept away people and houses and set off landslides in the southern Philippines. (AP Photo/Daisy Barimbao)

While the storm has moved on, the destruction and devastation caused by Tembin remains. Many are still missing, and tens of thousands have taken refuge in temporary shelters.

CGTN’s Silkina Ahluwalia visited an evacuation camp in one of the worst hit areas.

Follow Silkina Ahluwalia on Twitter @Silkina

In the province of Lanao Del Norte, Roman and his family of 8 live in a temporary shelter. In their hometown of Tubod, hundreds of homes were flattened to the ground, including their own.

The ground on which Roman’s house stood is now a river bed, filled with heavy rocks, logs and boulders.

“When I saw it gone, I thought I lost my family, because when I looked at this area it was empty,” he said. “I just cried. I did not have any hope.”

A few hours after, Roman got the call he was waiting for: his children and wife were safe.

Others were not as lucky, though. When Tembin swept through the Southern Philippines, it triggered deadly landslides and flash floods, killing more than 240 people.

The number of casualties is expected to increase as authorities recover the bodies of those still missing, buried under the rubble.

The Philippines is located in a disaster prone area, vulnerable to earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis. The country experiences at least twenty tropical storms and cyclones every year. Tembin is not considered one of the strongest to have hit the country, but it did destroy millions of dollars worth of infrastructure and agriculture.

This handout photograph released by Project LUPAD on December 23, 2017, shows an aerial image taken by a drone of the city of Cagayan de Oro on the Philippines’ island of Mindanao on December 22, 2017, after the area was struck by Tropical Storm Tembin. (AFP PHOTO/COURTESY OF PROJECT LUPAD)

The Red Cross is working with victims on the ground, providing necessary relief to those affected in Lanao Del Norte. In just Roman’s camp alone, there are 132 families taking shelter.

“We are providing NFI. That’s what we call the food items like the hygiene kits, the walkers, mats and mosquito nets,” according to Reynaldo Ruiz, Red Cross administrator in Lanao Del Norte.

Countries like China and Japan have also offered to provide emergency relief.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the country is willing to help rebuild the thousands of homes that perished in the storm, providing a glimmer of hope to the victims heavily affected by this tragedy.