Sheltering Typhoon Haiyan Survivors
by Suzanne Charest, CARE communications officer from Dona Maria village outside of Ormoc city
Ermalinda Quieros should have been celebrating the birth of her first grandson on November 8. Instead she was with her daughter-in-law as she gave birth squatting in the hallway of the overcrowded hospital in Ormoc. Hospital staff were completely overwhelmed by the influx of patients that fateful day.
With super yyphoon Haiyan bearing down on them, Ermalinda rushed her daughter-in-law to the hospital, leaving her husband at home in the village of Dona Maria to care for her two other grandchildren. “They evacuated to a house that was much sturdier than ours,” says Ermalinda. “I worried so much about them.”
Fortunately Ermalinda’s family was safe, but like more than one million families living in the path of the typhoon, her house was leveled. “When I returned home the next day, there was utter devastation everywhere in Dona Maria,” says the grandmother. In a matter of minutes, the house she had lived in for 13 years became a heap of twisted rubble. “I just cried and cried. I felt absolutely hopeless.”
Two weeks later Ermalinda’s husband sits outside on a mat, weaving palm fronds into a thatched roof for a new home. Ermalinda has just arrived home with the shelter kit and tarps she received at a distribution. CARE, with our local partner ACCORD, provided 220 households in Dona Maria with a shelter kit and two tarpaulins.
Ermalinda and her husband put the contents of the shelter kit to quick use. “These tools will be a big help to us as we have no money,” remarks Ermalinda.
As Ermalinda and her husband think about the future and the many challenges ahead, their daughter-in law looks on, cradling the tiny baby born during the typhoon. He hasn’t yet been named – everyone has been too shocked and busy to think of one. But as the rainy season continues, this family will at least have shelter.