‘Ma, where did our house go?’
(The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The day after typhoon Melor (local name Nona) struck the province of Sorsogon, Nelbeth and her family, who momentarily took shelter in a relative’s place, was aghast at the sight of their home. “More than half was blown away. My son Christian asked ‘Ma, where did our house go?’”

Like many boys his age, Christian, six, happily spent the long Christmas holidays. He had no inkling that they would be spending Christmas a bit differently this time.

Last Dec. 14, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced a brewing typhoon that would make landfall in the Bicol region. Christian’s community, a small coastal town where families earn their meager income by fishing, farming or part-time carpentry, was alarmed. The news of a new typhoon reminded them of Typhoon Rammasun (locally named Glenda), which had devastated the Philippines in July 2014.

On the day typhoon Nona  ravaged Christian’s community and nearby places, it was unusually calm.

“We thought the typhoon had changed its course but in the blink of an eye, everything changed,” Nelbeth said.

Packed with strong winds, typhoon Nona toppled everything in its path – from coconut trees to electric posts to nipa (palm) houses.

Allan Jerus, team leader of Green Valley Development Foundation (GVDF), a World Vision partner organization in Sorsogon, conducted an assessment in affected communities and saw the trail of destruction left in Nona’s path.

“Roads going to Sta. Magdalena were littered with fallen coconuts and debris. It seemed as though the typhoon had just happened yesterday.” 

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reports that the typhoon wreaked agricultural and infrastructure damage valued at P6 billion.

Left homeless, Nelbeth’s family had to forego celebrating Christmas. “We didn’t celebrate much as we needed to keep what little money we had to have our house fixed,” she said.

The family now temporarily stay in a room, which is not big enough for a family of four but is the only part of their house that remains standing.

Christian’s toys, all muddied and wet, were not spared. “All I have now are a few notebooks and my school bag, but at least we’re okay,” he said.

World Vision and its partner organization, Green Valley, are distributing emergency essentials like mosquito nets, tarps, rope and blanket to more than 2,000 Nona-affected families.

ACIRC ALL I ALLAN JERUS GEOPHYSICAL AND ASTRONOMICAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION GREEN VALLEY GREEN VALLEY DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION LAST DEC NATIONAL DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND MANAGEMENT COUNCIL NELBETH TYPHOON WORLD VISION
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