Written By Neyzielle Ronnicque Cadiz, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
Some things never changed, because more than the wrecked houses and structures caused by unimaginable wrath of the raging water, is the aftermath of the storm that threatened the vigor of our typhoon-affected kababayans in Marikina. As most of the evacuees implied, their initial impulse was to stay home because they needed to look after their belongings. But worse came to worst, desolation and chaos took over making them flinch and wade through the flood early in the morning instead.
The abrupt outrage of typhoon Mario caused children playing around with oversized shirts, senior citizens weary of their health, pregnant women more careful of their mobility, and even evacuees left sleeping on the stairs of evacuation centers. Commuters who are early to work still rode public buses and vehicles on the hope that they reach their destination safe and sound, but most of the vehicles that were early out that day were submerged.
Affected individuals improvised floaters for them to survive, which others saw as an opportunity to look for money. Others, however, crouched at different locations in their houses and waited for someone to rescue them.
Operation Blessing Philipines was among the organizations to respond to the needs of typhoon-Mario affected individuals. OB staff and volunteers went to barangay Tumana for ocular inspection and eventually distributed relief goods, fed the evacuees, and conducted medical missions to different evacuation sites.
Esmelita de Leon, 58, was among those who chose to stay in their houses in Barangay Tumana, Marikina City. Her daughter who lives nearby already warned her to evacuate but she stayed home along with her two grandchildren, and her daughter-in-law who is pregnant.
Saying she feared for their lives as the rain seemingly never stops, she prayed for salvation. She narrated that the water was waist- deep when they called the attention of the rescuers patrolling near their house. Thinking of her grandchildren, she even asked the rescuers to save them first, to just leave her behind. God is so faithful that the rescuers made a way for them to fit in the rubber boat. They were then transferred to H. Bautista Elementary School.
“Wala akong naisalba, kahit isang damit. Inisip ko rin kasi ang mga apo ko. Pero okay lang, mas mabuting buhay ang nasagip kaysa gamit.” she said with teary- eyes. [I didn’t save anything, even clothes. I thought of my grandchildren. But it’s okay, it is better that we saved ourselves than our belongings.]
However, because of hours of being soaked in the flood and sudden hypertension attack, she was rushed to the hospital, with nothing but her wet clothes on. She said that she was really starving but she had to bear it because she had nothing to eat but a biscuit from a nurse, which she still saved for her grandchildren to eat.
Everyone in the evacuation site have stories to share, and Lola Esmelita’s resilience remained clear—even sacrificing herself to save her grandchildren first. Lola Esmelita could not hide her awe when an OB volunteer doctor personally went to their room to check her situation.
She benefited from the medical check-up and she was given free medicines for her health maintenance. The members of her family, on the other hand, were fed during the feeding program, along with 3, 750 individuals, who, just like them, relied mostly on the aid coming from other people.They were very thankful that OB was one of the first organizations that reached and helped them survive a day.
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There are many ways to help during disasters. Let’s help our kababayans feel the comfort they deserve after surviving an adversity. Call us at these numbers: 477-7806/ 0920-4975558/ 0922-8036922/ 0917-5812603 to know more ways on how you can help.