Typhoon Haiyan: No More Taking Turns to Sleep


Myla Diaz, 41, has always known the value of persistence. She unfailingly persuaded her husband every day for two months to start building a new house for their family. Her husband Lino, 40, quietly answered they did not have the resources for construction. 

Their family used to live near a river in a village in Santa Fe in the province of Leyte. Their house was completely washed away when super typhoon Haiyan battered central Philippines on November 8 last year. 

After Haiyan, Myla’s family lived in a tent located in the village’s old basketball court, sharing space with five other families.

Myla was especially concerned for the health and comfort of her seven children ages 19, 17, 13, 11, 8, 6 and 3.  Her children constantly have to battle coughs and colds.

At night, they could not sleep. The tent was just too small to hold nine people.  

They had to devise a strategy: some family members would take turns sleeping on the floor, while others would wait, sitting on the ground. 

“It is really hard for my children. Whenever it rains hard, mud would enter our tent. Worst of all is my children would get really scared when it’s getting dark in our tent, maybe because they are still traumatized from our experience with Haiyan,” says Myla.

At one point, she even asked her husband to be in charge of cooking rice. She wanted him to better understand the challenges of cooking in an open space especially when it is raining and their food gets soaked in the downpour.

Myla’s family received food packs from CARE and local partner ACCORD. Lino, 40, has gone back to working in the rice fields early this year.  He earns about 200 pesos a day (almost USD 4.50). 

Myla says: ”We are extremely thankful for the food assistance because it took care of my family’s needs for a month. During the most critical months following Haiyan, CARE and ACCORD’s assistance eased my worries and fears that my children might go hungry”.

CARE’s relief also enabled Myla to save at least one thousand and five hundred pesos (around USD 33.50) - money she kept for home rebuilding purposes. 

Myla’s family also qualified for the shelter repair kit CARE and ACCORD distributed in their village. The package contained high quality corrugated sheets, aluminium screen, specialized nails, and other housing materials. 

A cash grant of 3,000 (USD 68) also comes with the shelter repair kit to cover other costs such as additional construction materials or pay for carpenters. 

”We used the cash assistance to buy lumber”, Myla says.

CARE’s shelter assistance enabled Myla’s family to start rebuilding a new house. They were able to find a new location far from the river, for a minimal rental fee. 

Myla pleasantly discovered how equally determined her husband was in rebuilding. Skilled in carpentry, Lino worked on building after finishing with his farm duties. She also saw that he was happy while constructing their house. 

The couple looks forward to the completion of their house in a few weeks. Myla laughs that they can go back to “regular sleeping schedule” with a new shelter. 

The home will also not only offer protection and better comfort to their children, but will also stand as a symbol of the couple’s solid partnership. 


Written by Winnie Aguilar, national communications officer for CARE Philippines


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