Mindanao quake victims plead for help on the streets

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 2) — Crude signs appealing for help have began popping up in Cotabato as victims of the series of quakes that rocked Mindanao in the past weeks have grown desperate for much-needed aid.

People are scrambling for relief randomly being handed out in the streets. Some said they have been spending their days in camps on empty stomachs and are deprived of basic necessities.

They know that help is coming, but it is only taking time. They are hoping that the government can hasten the delivery of aid and organize it better.

Water supply, crucial to food and sanitation, remains to be a major problem. In Magsaysay town, CNN Philippines spotted evacuees lining up for drinking water, and each family is only allowed to get two containers of water.

In Magsaysay town, people have been displaced from their comfortable homes in the mountains to makeshift houses made of branches and tree barks, which three to five families share.

Sleep has become a privilege for evacuees as they take turns sleeping on wooden beds, while some sleep on the floor or while sitting. Others spend the night guarding their shelter until someone else wakes up.

Many of them have been in Balnate Elementary School — the largest evacuation camp in the Davao del Sur province — for two weeks now. The camp is now home to over 344 families.

Aside from their daily supplies, government officials say evacuees need land to relocate their homes.

CNN Philippines has compiled a list of organizations that are calling for donations. Check them out here.

7 missing

At least seven people are missing in Cotabato who are feared to be buried under the rubble from the landslide caused by a magnitude 6.6 quake that rocked parts of Mindanao last Thursday.

Among them are two teenagers, Triump Picao, 15, and Rolando Dayday Jr., 14, who were harvesting ginger on a hillside when the strong tremor hit.

An enormous landslide following the quake buried at least six hectares of the hillside, which residents said makes it impossible to retrieve anyone who was buried underneath it.

But relatives of the missing are undeterred in their search for their loved ones — despite the danger of more landslides amid the numerous aftershocks still rocking Mindanao every few minutes. Just this morning, a magnitude 4.5 quake hit Tulunan, Cotabato again.

The recurring aftershocks also make it difficult for emergency teams to be on the site.

Pinuntahan talaga namin para makita namin, pero hindi na talaga makita ‘yung kapatid ko na ‘yun. Pinakamabait na kapatid. Hindi naman ikumpara sa lahat, pero siya yung close na close ko na kapatid,” Charwin Picao said of Triump.

[Translation: We went there to see look for him, but we can’t find my brother. He’s the kindest brother I have. I don’t want to compare him to everyone else, but I’m closest to him.]

Rolando Ancero Sr., father of Dayday, said he regrets failing to stop his son from going to the mountains the day the quake struck and remains hopeful that they can still find the boys alive.

Parang buhay pa siya sa akin paningin, sir. Hindi ko nakita ang nangyari sa kanya eh. ‘Di ko alam, sir,” Ancero said.

[Translation: In my mind, he’s still alive, sir. I didn't see what happened to him. I don’t know, sir.]

But Dayday’s mother, Juliana Dayday, has a bleaker view. “Tanggap na namin na wala na siya. Pero masakit,” she said.

CNN Philippines reported Saturday that at least four are missing and feared to be dead following the landslide in Cotabato.

At least 18 people were killed and 327 were hurt by the string of earthquakes in Mindanao.

CNN Philippines’ David Santos and Carolyn Bonquin contributed to this report.