By Malou Navio, CFCA Antipolo project coordinator
Sponsored girl Rachel is one of the many survivors struggling from the severe impact of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng (Ketsana and Parma). She and her family are in deep pain and in severe difficulty. After saving little children from the day-care center of their neighborhood, her 19-year-old brother, Roy, was killed by the mudslides with big boulders.
Six people in their neighborhood were killed. Three were rescuers. Their bodies, including Royís, drowned in the horrible flood and could not be found. The flood washed away Rachelís home and many homes in their neighborhood.
ìIím praying to God to help us and strengthen us to surpass this difficulty,” Rachel said.
Rachel is a third-year high school student. She is the youngest among the six children. Three siblings each have their own family. They live in the same neighborhood. A brother is working as an on-call helper in another province.
Her father, Ricardo, used to earn a living as a contractual construction worker or on-call driver. Her mother, Corazon, as well as her married siblings, used to earn money from accepting laundry work. Both sources of livelihood are impossible. Her father lost his carpentry tools, identification and license to flooding. Her mother could not accept laundry because of the cloudy river water.
They cannot be accommodated in the evacuation centers because the centers are already full. They must live with Rachelís sister and her family in a small makeshift abode. They are very congested. They take turns sleeping on a wooden cot. Water is rationed. No comfort rooms. Her mother is becoming thin and sickly.
Their community is called Labahan, a place known for people whose livelihood is doing laundry by hand at the nearby river. Their previous livelihood was scavenging from the garbage dumpsite.
ìWe have a good neighborhood,î Corazon said, while crying. ìWe help each other. However, at present, all of us have nothing. We are equally affected by Typhoon Ondoy.î
Ricardo, though very sad, is hopeful to start over again.
ìWe are praying for Divine assistance and to the people not affected by the typhoon to help us rise,î he said.
ìThanks to the presence of the CFCA staff,î Corazon added. ìThey lighten our heavy feelings.î
ìThanks for being concerned and for helping,î Rachel said.