When your whole family live on the other side of the world, you always miss and worry for them. When you are told that the strongest storm ever to make landfall has hit your homeland, there are no words. There is no way to protect them or to prepare them.
10,000 people are thought to have died and over four million affected. These are husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, siblings, and innocent children who had their lives ahead of them. Whole villages have been destroyed by the 300-mile typhoon, hitting areas where thousands of people are already homeless after an earthquake in mid-October.
Friends and family that we have in the Philippines have had their houses completely destroyed. Their crops, which are their livelihoods, ruined. But they are the lucky ones to be alive. One friend that we have spoken to likened sitting through the storm to being in a strong cycle washing machine.
The bulk of our family live in the province of Misamis Oriental in Mindanao. They did not suffer like those in the coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar. Our family home was made of the strongest material available in the Philippines, but the roof was still torn away. It must have been terrifying to be in your house knowing that a little bit of wind would wreck everything, let alone gusts of up to 235mph.
But the story does not end when the news stops reporting. My mother’s hometown will be hit by Tropical Depression Zoraida, meaning floods. The people of the Philippines are burying their dead, but the recovery is focusing on the survivors. We are sending a box to our family. If you want to donate any money to the relief, we suggest you give to the Red Cross appeal. They are now trying to give water, food and shelter – basic necessities of life.