THE Philippine Flag at the City Hall grounds is still flying at half mast as the city government and the people of Cagayan de Oro continue to quietly mourn the lives that were lost and the devastations caused by flashfloods last month.
It was 40 days ago when in the quietness of the night water engulfed and brought several barangays under water claiming hundreds of lives. Men, women and children were carried by flood waters and some were helplessly buried in mud. The struggle that these victims faced was unimaginable. Until this day, hundreds are still missing.
Moving on has been a painful task for most, if not all Kagay-anons, knowing that life will never be the same again.
But every disaster and calamity brings opportunities for kindness and good deeds.
Kagay-anons tasted this after help and assistance in cash and kind from different parts of the country and foreign nations, groups, organizations and religious sector poured into the city. Help was enormous and a very thankful Mayor Vicente Emano, Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas and members of the 16th City Council have aired their gratitude for the sympathy, help and overwhelming support.
Life must go on.
Relocation sites are now being established and thousands of houses are being constructed for calamity victims, a place where they can once again live out their dreams.
Yesterday, January 25, the first 40 housing units at Xavier Ecoville in Lumbia and the first four at the Calaanan Relocation Site, a joint project of the city government and Habitat for Humanity, were turned over to beneficiaries. Mayor Emano vowed that this will continue until every affected family is tucked into permanent homes.
Cleaning the debris and wreckage brought by the typhoon was not easy but helping hands came. Local officials and residents of the different municipalities and cities of Misamis Oriental with a force of 4,000 volunteers brought needed equipment and cleaning materials to clean-up a badly ravaged barangay Carmen. The “Kagay-anon Katimbayayong mo Kami,” a group initiated by Rep. Bambi Emano of the 2nd District of Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro 1st District Congressman Benjo Benaldo, First District of Misamis Oriental Congressman Peter Unabia, the Vice Mayors League and mayors of the province spearheaded the project.
The United Nations Development Program and other groups have also entered the city for a clean-up drive.
Rehabilitation of lives and of devastations caused by the calamity is now going on.
Forty days after the big flood, the city has moved forward but it doesn’t mean that it has forgotten the tragedy.
This morning, a special mass for all the victims of Typhoon Sendong was held at the City Tourism Hall, as city officials headed by Mayor Emano continue to mourn for them.
The destroyed structures and roads will be rebuilt but time will tell when the wounds would finally heal for Kagay-anons. It may come a day at a time, but with God’s help it will.
Amidst all the broken lives and broken pieces, the people in the City of Golden Friendship still find hope. And as Mayor Emano had pronounced, in time Cagayan de Oro will rise again.