Ermalinda’s Home: Sheltering Typhoon Haiyan’s Survivors

Ermalinda’s Home: Sheltering Typhoon Haiyan’s Survivors

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Suzanne Charest with CARE in the Philippines

On November 8, Ermalinda Quieros should have been celebrating the birth of her first grandson. Instead she was with her daughter-in-law as she gave birth squatting in the hallway of the overcrowded hospital in Ormoc. Staff at the hospital were overwhelmed with the influx of patients.

With Super Typhoon Haiyan bearing down on the region, Ermalinda had left her husband at home in their village of Dona Maria to care for her two other grandchildren. “They evacuated to a neighbour’s house that was much sturdier than ours,” says Ermalinda. “I worried so much about them.”

Luckily her family was safe, but like more than one million families living in the path of the typhoon, her home would not fare so well.

“When I returned home the next day, there was utter devastation everywhere in Dona Maria,” says Ermalinda. The house she had lived in for 13 years was nothing but a heap of twisted rubble. “I just cried and cried. I felt absolutely hopeless with no place to stay.”

Two weeks later Ermalinda’s husband sits on a matt outside, 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 its local partner ACCORD, provided a shelter kit and two tarpaulins to 220 households in Dona Maria. Each shelter kit contains a shovel, hoe, saw, wire, hammer, nails, machete, rope and other items for rebuilding homes, all provided by the Canadian government.

I just cried and cried. I felt absolutely hopeless with no place to stay.

- Ermalinda Quieros

Ermalinda and her husband open the kit, examining the contents one by one. “These tools will be a big help to us as we have no money,” remarks Ermalinda.

As they think of the future and the many challenges ahead, Ermalinda’s daughter-in law looks on, cradling the tiny baby born during the typhoon. He doesn’t have a name yet,everyone has been too busy to think of one. But as the rainy season continues, the most vulnerable families in the typhoon’s path will begin to have shelter.

A woman and her children in a slum area of Ormoc. On the island of Leyte in the Philippines, CARE distributed food parcels containing rice, canned meat and more to families whose homes were destroyed by powerful Typhoon Haiyan.Laura Sheahen/CARE