My name is Hatai Limprayoonyong and I am Plan International’s Internal Communications Specialist in Asia, reporting from the Philippines
Today, I went to Tacloban City, one of the worst-affected areas, together with my Plan colleagues and 13 volunteers.
There is no signal here at the Plan office in Tacloban and things are in a bad way. To get connected, you need to go out to the city hall. At the city hall there is a vital hub served by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, where you can make contact with others through radio. There’s also computers with internet access.
They tell me this hub has been set up here since November 9 and 1,000 people come here every day. With only five computers to serve the whole city population and the provinces nearby, our time is limited to three minutes per person. I suppose this is just enough time to Facebook or Tweet those close to us, those who depend on us, that we’re OK.
"I am alive" is the popular phrases here.
They say this centre will be here as long as the gas and generator are working.
Things aren’t safe here and we’re given a strict curfew from the government by 8pm but for Plan staff, we set it to our base by 5pm – the security guard will be waiting for us and there is a password for us to get access to our team house. People sleep wherever they can.
But now I hear there is an issue with transportation. We’re in trouble as we may run out of fuel. Gasoline is precious - for both power and transportation.
For now, we have to wait and I wonder when we will make it back to Plan’s base in Manila.
We are staying positive and doing what we can, but I can see the staff from Plan’s local team are tired and exhausted. Some have lost their homes. Others have lost everything they know.
It’s a difficult situation to comprehend, as we are responsible for providing relief for people, yet we are also affected.