By Nestor P. Burgos Jr./ PNS
Ilonggos have flocked to a photo exhibit by photojournalists and reporters on the impact of typhoon “Frank” which ravaged Panay Island last June.
The exhibit which started on July 26 at the lower ground floor of SM City Iloilo in Mandurriao District here has been extended to August 8 to accommodate thousands of people who drop by the exhibit from the opening of the mall until closing time.
“This is one of most successful photo exhibits held in the mall because the throngs of people have not receded,” said Troy Camarista, public relations officer of SM City Iloilo, in a telephone interview.
Camarista said they decided to extend the exhibit because of the warm response. “Our shoppers can really connect with the photographs. “
The exhibit was organized by the Press Photographers of the Philippines (PPP)-Iloilo chapter with the help of the Photo Artists League of Iloilo Inc. and SM City Iloilo.
It includes around 90 photographs both published and unpublished taken by Iloilo photojournalists and reporters, said Chris Fernandez, president of PPP-Iloilo.
The photographs are of houses, churches and streets submerged in water, residents in waist high waters, evacuees and other scenes of the tragedy in Iloilo and Aklan.
The two were the hardest hit areas when the typhoon struck on June 21.
The Office of Civil Defense reported that at least 342 persons died during the typhoon in the Western Visayas region alone. Around 290 are still missing and 886 were injured.
The flooding affected around 2,545 villages and 417,399 families or 2,094,105 persons. At least 50,571 houses were destroyed and another 101,080 others damaged.
“We now can share this photographs as we start to recover and move on,” said Fernandez. “There were so many faces, feelings and scenes captured by our cameras that moved all of us.”
The photographs which showed the onslaught of storm and flooding and after the waters had subsided “captured the Ilonggo spirit of resilience amid the most difficult time,” said Fernandez.
He said these also showed the compassion in helping the victims.
Some of the photojournalists and reporters who took the pictures themselves suffered from the calamity and were covering the typhoon when it struck their communities and homes.
“We wanted to capture and share the scenes that move us especially the struggle to survive and to overcome this unprecedented disaster,” said Fernandez.