Monday, January 2, 2012

A Story of Survival from Typhoon Washi

Eusevia Cortez, an 82 year-old survivor of Typhoon Washi, receives emergency supplies from an UMCOR volunteer.  Photo: UMCOR Philippines

On the night of December 16, while many in the Philippines were celebrating Simbang Gabi (nine days of evening mass to celebrate the beginning of Christmas), flash floods raged through towns in the Southern Philippine island of Mindanao, catching many by surprise. 

Eusevia Cortez, an 82 year-old woman, is one survivor of the flash floods that swept away almost her entire neighborhood in the city of Iligan.  Thousands of people experienced the same nighttime floods that were caused by Typhoon Sendong (Washi). 

Ms. Eusevia had lived in a small bamboo home for years until the water washed it all away. Though she lived near the vicinity of river, it never occurred to her that she was in danger.

On that fatal night, strong rain came followed by a powerful wind. Then, the rampaging flood rolled through town. Ms. Eusevia tried to call out for help, but the roaring water drowned out her voice.  Even if her voice had been heard, no one could come to help her— her neighbors were struggling to save themselves. Ms. Eusevia cried out to God for help.  

Nothing was left after the waters receded.  Ms. Eusevia lost her home and all of her belongings.  She has no idea how she survived and attributes it to God.

Today, Ms. Eusevia is thankful for the help that The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) extended to the survivors of Typhoon Washi.  “Your assistance is a big help, it gives me hope and determination to continue living in the midst of hopelessness and despair,” she said.

Eusevia’s story does not end here. Her story of survival is just starting. While she is well and alive in spite of the flood taking everything from her, she needs to start all over again and this is not easy for an 82 year-old woman who struggles to make ends meet. She will need a lot of help to recover.

You can help UMCOR provide assistance to Ms. Esuvia and other survivors of Typhoon Washi by giving to Philippines Emergency, UMCOR Advance #240235.

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