Isabel Umali and her family had already moved to an evacuation center in Brgy. Magahis, Tuy, Batangas when another disaster struck. On January 15, a strong earthquake shook the towns near Taal volcano when her husband– who had been chopping firewood– suffered a fatal heart attack. He was only 47 years old.
“It was all the stress and exhaustion. He was thinking a lot; worrying about us, our home, and the volcano,” Isabel said.
They buried him in Brgy. Magahis. Although their town Kemery was cleared for return, Isabel said she has to stay in Brgy. Magahis until the end of the 40-day mourning period. She still stays in the evacuation center with Draven, the youngest of her five (5) children.
Isabel could not stop crying when she recounted her loss, but she said that she knows her husband is happy knowing she and her children are safe, adding that she is more than grateful for the donations.
“Operation Blessing’s relief packs and hygiene kits help us get by, especially since we have no money and can’t go back home right away,” Isabel said as her son Draven meekly stood behind her.
Isabel and all the other evacuees in temporary shelters—especially the infants, infirm, and elderly— remain vulnerable to disease, as well as extreme stress. Their troubles are likely to remain long after they return to their hometowns, as rebuilding their homes and lives from underneath the ashes will be a tremendous undertaking.
Brgy. Magahis houses 61 displaced families—they are no stranger to the language of loss after the Taal volcano eruption. Despite these hard losses, their spirits remained unshaken.
This is why every little bit of help matters. Reach out to us at Operation Blessing to support the immediate needs of the Taal evacuees. Contact these numbers: (+632) 8663-4701 / (+632) 8663-4710 / 0939-921-5543, or send us a message through our Facebook page for cash / in-kind donations, or volunteering efforts.