Stories from the Philippines. Please read the introduction HERE.
Alone. Left behind. Her hair soaked, heart full of fear. It was a complete chaos. Little did this six-year-old girl know what to do – the water, the flood had come to take her life.
Vinta – this is how the cyclone was called – didn’t care. Children, elderly, healthy or sick, pregnant or not, it left 200 people dead and forced nearly 16 000 to evacuate. Hitting Mindanao, Philippines in 2017 it caused massive landslides and floods the locals are still yet to recover.
“Moooom,” this little girl cried, trying to fight for her life at her own home. Her mom, Jovelyn Masicampo, didn’t hear. How could she? Far in the mountains she was selflessly helping her husband to pick coconuts, trying to make living for all of them. The other children, six in total, were with her – lending their hands as much as they could.
The day of the Vinta
Strong wind and heavy rain left the family trapped to the mountains until the very next day. “When we finally got back home everything was gone. Our house was washed away,” Jovelyn quietly says.
She gathered her confused, scared and shocked family together and headed to the school. The building which just a little while ago had been full of laughter and happy children, was operating now as an evacuation centre. Luckily, the 6-year-old girl was going with them. “She had stayed home the day we went to the mountains, and was almost washed away. If it wasn’t my nephew noticing her on the last second she would have been just gone,” Jovelyn says.
In the evacuation centre the family was provided with basic equipment by Red Cross. “We received a tent,” Jovelyn states. A tent the whole family has been calling home since then.
Just a few months ago the tent area was again affected by a very heavy rain. Jovelyn didn’t see it. She was in the hospital, giving birth to her newborn. Her other kids managed to escape to Jovelyn’s brother’s place before the water raised too high.
Jovelyn’s husband is a farmer but it’s hard for him to find permanent work. The living conditions have worsened. The comfort room is 30 minutes away from home. For a pregnant woman – like Jovelyn a while ago – needless to say, it’s not easy. The family doesn’t have enough food to eat. “Sometimes we only have bananas. We cook them at night just for our children, they are the only ones who would get to eat,” Jovelyn confesses.
Together with her husband Jovelyn have voluntarily helped to construct a house they are supposed to move in. However, due to the stop of the delivery of the materials, there is currently no work going on. But hope never dies. Just like her six-year-old was once saved from the water, Jovelyn believes that they will once be able to move to the house. “If we ever make it, I will definitely want to find a job and fight hard to get my life back. The life I had before Vinta.”
To be continued…