On November 8, 2013, typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiya) swept the Philippines, leaving behind more than 6,000 dead, utter devastation and Eve Jocelyn, a 3,000-ton cargo ship stranded one hundred meters inland, in District 68 Tacloban City. In its erratic journey, the ship destroyed a dozen homes and caused several deaths. But soon after, life was reborn around it. The documentary film The Last Voyage of Eva Jocelyn, directed by Daniel Burgui Iguzkiza and Andrew Salaberri Pueyo shows the life of the inhabitants of this area in the following weeks of Haiya’s passing.
This neighbourhood was one of the most devastated in the entire city of Tacloban. For several days, it remained isolated and disconnected from the rest of the city: the rubble was so high that the road where the enormous boat had been stranded could not be opened for nine days. They spent three days without food and water. Maria Rosario Bactol, the head of this district, remembered that about 2,800 people lived here; most of those 650 families were humble fish vendors, shopkeepers and people with no resources. Before the typhoon, it was not one of the best areas; many of the houses were built irregularly. A neighbourhood that got by as best as it could.
“It was definitely one of the most vulnerable parts of the city,” says Claire Allard, food safety expert at Action Against Hunger. “Before the arrival of the typhoon, it was very much a neighbourhood in need, and now they have to deal with these huge ships, all their houses have been destroyed and some authorities do not want families to resettle here,” explains the aid worker. That’s why ACF began working in this area as a priority and was one of the first NGOs to arrive. Even when the neighbourhood was still isolated.
“The emergency in this neighbourhood was not nutrition, but we should and must work on prevention. Weeks go by and if we do not act, if we do not improve the diet of children and mothers and, above all, if we do not offer ways to rebuild the lives of these people, it will be its undoing”, Allard said.