Scared of buildings, quake-hit Aetas stay in shelter made of sticks, blankets

Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 27 2019 07:11 PM

The quake-hit Aeta community in Porac, Pampanga built makeshift homes in open spaces after the collapse of their houses due to a 6.1-magnitude earthquake. Susan Mercado, Philippine Red Cross

MANILA – About 207 Aetas are living in makeshift shelter in Porac, Pampanga as they refuse to stay in concrete evacuation centers due to psychological trauma following the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that struck Luzon Monday.

Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Susan Mercado said the Aetas left their smashed houses and built shelter made of sticks and blankets in Sitio Pasubul, Barangay Camias in the quake-hit town.

“Ay, ayaw talaga nila pumunta sa lugar na may konkreto over their head. Hindi sila mapipilit,” Mercado told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview.

(They do not want to go to places with concrete over their head. They will not be forced.)

Some children are already undernourished and have developed skin infections, she said. Their living situation may also cause gastrointestinal disease, she added.

Quake-hit Aeta community in Porac, Pampanga gets water supply from a small stream. There is no potable water and sanitation, according to the Philippine Red Cross. Susan Mercado, Philippine Red Cross

Mercado said: “Wala silang water, wala silang sanitation. May maliit na sapa doon, doon nila ginagawa ang lahat pati paghuhuhas ng damit, doon din naglalaro ang mga bata, naliligo.”

(They do not have water and sanitation. There is a small stream there where they do everything, including laundry, and where children are playing and taking a bath.)

A group of volunteers from PRC already provided welfare services. Mercado said the community is still in need of psychosocial support, water, sanitation, tents as alternative shelter, and food.

Monday's quake, which had its epicenter in Zambales, severely affected parts of Pampanga, flattening a supermarket in Porac town where five were found dead.

The temblor, which also affected nearby provinces and Metro Manila, left a total 16 dead.