"We hugged each other because it was so cold...We could see the coconut trees bend down because of the wind."
November, 2013—It’s hard to catch a break from the sticky, burning heat of the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan provided a few moments of unwelcomed escape. As the winds passed through Bantayan Island, ripping down palm trees and flattening houses, it became so cold that Adelfa Mayormite’s children started to have seizures.
“We hugged each other because it was so cold,” said Adelfa’s neighbor, Annalee Jarinar. “We could see the coconut trees bend down because of the wind.”
As soon as she saw the storm coming, Adelfa moved to a neighbor’s house. It survived the initial onslaught of the north winds. But as the eye passed over and the stronger south winds began to blow, they moved to Annalee’s house, the only house on their dirt road made of concrete blocks.
Walls from other houses were falling all around them as they tried to move during the worst of the typhoon’s fury. It became a dangerous game, but eventually Adelfa was able to get her five children safely to Annalee’s house.
“Because we were afraid, we prayed to the Lord that we may be saved,” Adelfa said.
Recovery will take time
But even Annalee’s sturdy house couldn’t resist the winds. The families watched as her roof blew away and rain poured in.
“While the storm was happening, we saw this one coconut tree, it almost fell in our house,” Annalee said.
As the rain teemed into the house, the storm surge from the nearby ocean crept in too. For seven hours, all Adelfa thought about was saving her children—including the one she is seven months pregnant with—and Annalee’s twin girls.
The storm finally abated and the group was able to go outside and see the extent of the devastation. Adelfa’s house was completely flattened, but her husband was able to build a bit of roof over the bed to provide some shelter. Adelfa’s house no longer had a roof, but the walls were still standing.
“We were just thankful that some part of our house we could still sleep in it,” Annalee said.
Since the storm, Adelfa’s husband hasn’t been able to return to being a fisherman. He’s been busy at home trying to repair their house, and most of the boats capsized during the storm.
Annalee hasn’t gone back to work either. She sells chicken eggs, but right now the supplier doesn’t have anything to give her. Because neither family is working, they have no funds to repair their homes.
Their children can’t return to school because it was torn down, and Annalee said there is no word about when it will be repaired. Until then, the children will continue to play in the street.
Adelfa and Annalee have many needs. Today Samaritan’s Purse was able to meet the most basic ones by distributing food and hygiene kits in their community.
Elderly people in the community were thankful to have food. A young girl smiled when she saw a toothbrush in her bag.
With the help of our ministry partners and local Christians, Samaritan’s Purse is packing and distributing thousands of food and hygiene kits, along with tarps for shelter and community water filters. More help arrived this weekend, when over 100 tons of emergency relief and medical supplies were airlifted from Charlotte, NC.
In the following weeks, we will continue to meet the needs of these people as they recover from the terrible storm. Please pray for survivors as they struggle to recover in the midst of grief and loss.