Typhoon Washi: A Child's Story of Survival
Philippines floods: A child's story of survival
Ten-year-old Aiza holds on to her baby sister, Trixy. In just one day, they have lost their mother, their grandmother and their home to Typhoon Washi.
Aiza lived with her parents and two siblings, Jonathan (20) and one-year-old Trixy. Their grandmother lived in a small house along the river that ran through their village.
At the time Typhoon Washi hurled its heavy rains, this river was one of many that overflowed. Thousands of homes were flushed into the river; Aiza’s home was not spared.
She tells us, “I didn’t know how I manage to climb while holding Trixy. It was raining so hard. Trixy was crying and we both felt so cold. But I was praying hard not to let go of my baby sister. It was a miracle. I didn’t know how it happened.”
Aiza couldn’t see her surroundings because it was dark and the power was cut off. All she heard was children and residents crying out for help. “I was holding my sister so tight,” Aiza shares. “Although she couldn’t talk yet but I felt she was so scared.”
Thankfully, after two hours, other residents came to the rescue. “The water current was so strong. I held on to a rope given by other residents whom I didn’t know. We were nearly swept away,” Aiza recounts.
As Aiza reached a safer place with Trixy, she remembered her mother and grandmother. At a distance she saw people and children crying for help and clinging on for their lives. Many houses were submerged. “My grandmother is too old and she doesn’t know how to swim,” Aiza says.
The night passed and there was no news of her mother and grandmother. The next day, through the search and rescue operation conducted by the government, Aiza found the bodies of her mother and grandmother from the next village. “I didn’t recognize them. And I didn’t want to believe. “I cried so hard. I pity them so much,” cries Aiza.
Aiza’s father, brother and baby sister travelled to a school serving as a temporary shelter to more than 700 families.
Aiza says that this is not the first time that their village has experienced floods, but Typhoon Washi was by far the worst. More than 500 people are reported dead (many of them children and women) and hundreds are still missing.
When asked about her wishes for this coming Christmas, she could not speak. She couldn’t answer because it’s impossible. All she wants is to have her mother and grandmother’s lives back.
World Vision responds
World Vision is helping 10,000 families (50,000 people) out of the 22,223 families severely affected by the floods in the hardest hit cities.
Aside from distributing relief goods, World Vision will also set up Child Friendly Spaces to address the emotional and psychosocial needs of children. Here, children are provided with a safe place to spend time and play, to help them recover from this devastating experience. School supplies will also be provided to 10,000 children.
21 December 2011