Ready to Rebuild

Ready to Rebuild

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For Rolando Creado, 64, the safest place was to head to the mountains.

A rice farmer in the village of San Miguelay, about a 45 minute drive from Tacloban City in Leyte, Philippines, he knew things would be bad. After all, in a typical year, his village is flooded about six or seven times from various storms, thanks to a nearby river.

Typhoon Haiyan was imminent, with the threat of ferocious winds and heavy rains. So Rolando, his wife, son and grandchild headed to higher ground.

They dug a small foxhole in a field and covered themselves with a tarp, clinging together as the weather began to intensify.

The scariest part, he says, were the winds, which scattered trees and other debris. A frightening prospect when your only roof is a tarp in one of the worst storms in recorded history.

Eventually, Rolando says, he wondered if it was time to accept he was going to die. Should he live, he knew there was no way all of his family members and friends would make it out alive.

The storm was just too strong.

Four hours later, when the worst of the storm had passed, they emerged cold and wet from the rain and a stream from the mountains that flowed into their foxhole.

They returned to a village utterly devastated, with trees uprooted and shattered homes, including Rolando’s, which he says completely washed away. 

Thankfully, despite what Rolando thought earlier, no one died in his village. However, this super typhoon ensured much work would be required to rebuild.

The village “was easily devastated because of all the light materials used” on the houses, says Rolando.

At the end of December, San Miguellay would be one of the first communities that CARE and our local partner ACCORD would distribute high quality shelter repair kits containing corrugated sheet metal, specialized nails, tools and other useful items. This was coupled with a cash supplement of 3,000 pesos (roughly $68) to pay for extra materials or labor costs. Local carpenters were enlisted to provide training on new methods to “build back safer,” so homes can be built with stronger foundations to face future storms.

Tomorrow, a carpenter will arrive to begin rebuilding Rolando’s home. He says he is extremely thankful for this assistance and is confident the new materials will better protect the people of his village.

Written by Darcy Knoll, emergency communications coordinator for CARE International in the Philippines

Keep learning:

While visiting a location where CARE previously distributed shelter repair kits, Rolando Creado, 64, spoke to a group of CARE staff about his experience during the storm. Rolando and his family hid from the storm in a foxhole in a field. He now plans to rebuild his home stronger thanks to the shelter kit he received.