One week since Typhoon Yolanda.

It has been just over a week since Typhoon Yolanda hit. This time last week we were starting to get information in about the scale of devastation the typhoon had caused in our region.

In the morning of Thursday November 14th I saw on the news that a Typhoon was heading our way. I assumed it would not be a big deal, maybe it would lose speed or change course? But by the afternoon it was clear that we were potentially in it’s direct path and the wind speeds of Typhoon Yolanda were being recorded as some of the strongest ever. Okay, it was time to get organised! By the afternoon I was called to an emergency meeting at the City Hall with our local government leaders and an evacuation plan was made. Everyone living along the shoreline and by the river were moved into buildings being used as evacuation centres and we had been asked to open our drop-in centre as an extra evacuation centre for the street kids and nearby families.

One of our boys making his way to the drop-in as the wind starts to pick up!

 

It was late Friday morning  when the Typhoon passed by us, it brought with it strong howling winds and heavy rain. As the winds picked up the whole island lost electricity and water.By late afternoon the worst seemed over and everyone emerged from the evacuation centres to see what kind of state their houses were in.Thankfully the eye of the storm didn’t directly hit us but even so, the damage that Typhoon Yolanda’s winds had caused in our slum areas was considerable.

The flooded river at Managa, a slum area we work in just a few minutes away from the drop-in.

 

In one area the river surged and swept away houses, completely flooded others and throughout the slums houses were missing walls or roofs. Families and children stayed at our evacuation centre in the dry with yummy hot food for a second night before heading out on Saturday morning to start repairs.

Filipino people amaze me! They are so resilient and positive.  Some of them were able to reuse roofs of other houses that had blown near to them; well, there was no way of telling which tin sheet belongs to who so people helped each other fix as they could. Others found old rice sacks or plastic sheets to cover the holes where their corrugated roof or wall had blown away. Everyone worked together to tidy up and clean the roads, fallen trees and shrubs were quickly cleared and within a few days, despite the fact that many of us still had no electricity and water, we all got on with what needed doing!

Our amazing team of volunteers have done assessments of the families that needed help to get their home repaired. After several visits to each person asking for help we have our final list of 53 homes that we will be doing major repairs on! Tomorrow we will start distributing all the building materials needed to each family.  Dads, brothers, neighbours, and friends are all working together to do the building work on each other’s homes, overseen by Tim and his team of builders.

It is going to be so great to see all the houses repaired and water tight by the end of the week! We are very happy that through your generous donations we will have all our kids living in dry homes.

Repairing the homes of 53 families is just the tip of the iceberg. We believe in bringing transformation to a community through long term solutions. We are now getting into some of the hardest hit areas and we all have a huge job ahead of us. It is going to take lots of team work from all different sectors to rebuild villages, towns and cities.

Yesterday at 4am a team of five MiA staff were invited up north to Banatayan Island to visit local families there. The team were shocked at the level of destruction they saw. They didn’t get home until 4 am this morning so at this moment they are all catching up on sleep but they will be posting a blog tomorrow with news on what they saw and MiA’s plans to rebuild a small community in Bantayan!

On top of building and repairing homes we have also been sending food, medicine and baby milk to some of the worst affected areas. We have more trips to Leyte planned this week where our team will assess more communities needing house building. Next week my friend Claire Henderson from Helping Hands in Manila is coming to visit us with her team of Doctors and nurses. We will bring them to some very remote areas and also to refugee evacuation centres for medical outreaches. MiA will continue to distribute more food, clothing and other relief goods.

Thanks so much for everyone’s continued efforts to reach our fundraising target. It will allow us to do amazing thing for hundreds of families! 53 houses and counting…

Comments
2 Responses to “One week since Typhoon Yolanda.”
  1. Jill says:

    It is so good to hear this update…….. thank you for all you are doing… I have felt pretty useless here but by my volunteering in the Mercy in Action shop in Charlton Kings I have felt like I am helping you guys out there. Keep up the fab work… :)))

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