Typhoon Ketsana, which struck the Philippines on September 26, damaged more than 1,500 homes of Compassion-assisted children and families, and nearly 20 student centers were affected by the storm.*
Ketsana hit the Philippines on a Saturday, the day when registered children gather at the student centers. But on September 26 not many arrived at Marikina Foursquare Student Center. Ketsana was already pounding hard.
However, some children did come.
Bernadette, the center director, fed them and instructed them to go home immediately. And as she planned to visit the homes of other children to give them some food because the floodwaters were rising fast, she was called by her own family. Her home was flooded too.
“What I have learned from this is not to look back on the possessions I lost, but rather focus on saving myself and my loved ones. On that day, I couldn’t attend to the needs of the children since my own home was in disarray.”
In the following days Bernadette reports that none of the children from her student center were hurt, although all of their homes were flooded, damaged in some way or destroyed completely.
The student center and its surrounding communities were completely submerged under water. And five days after the typhoon, homes and communities were still flooded, muddied, stinky and a mess.
Mirasol, a mother at the church, says,
“It is still a nightmare for me. I still vividly recall images of people being swept away by the water. I couldn’t sleep thinking that I was not able to help them as they were crying, as they were swept away towards the river. My child was crying the loudest, ‘Mother, Mother, the water is so high already!’”
Two of Mirasol’s children, Maribel and Dominic, are registered at the student center. They are safe but their home is still under water.
Miguel, another child from the student center, says he was so afraid because he got separated from his father when his father took his mother to safety first, but could not come back for Miguel and his younger brother because of the dangerously strong current.
Miguel and his brother were rescued by a neighbor, also a Compassion parent, as the boys jumped from roof to roof. They were reunited with their parents the next day at the church, but their tiny home was washed away completely.
Miguel’s father confesses,
“I pounded on my heart in anguish, crying. I was thinking of my boys all the time. I didn’t know what to do. I tried to look for them several times. I even waded back and forth in the water calling out for my sons.”
But despite the situation he and his family now find themselves in, Miguel’s father says,
“I won’t complain because I still have what truly matters.”
When natural disasters strike, Compassion’s Disaster Relief Fund provides sponsored children and their families with food, clothing and basic supplies to help rebuild their lives. Learn more about the Disaster Relief Fund.
*Editor’s note: In the wake of a disaster we contact each sponsor who has a child affected by that disaster. We do so once we receive details from the country office about the child. If your child was affected by either Typhoon Ketsana or Typhoon Parma, you will be contacted when we receive information about your child.