OUR LATEST PROJECT (AFTER THE TYPHOON) – MERBINA PATILUNA AND FAMILY
Typhoon Odette (int. name: Rai) struck the central Philippines in the night of December 16th/17th 2021. The islands of Bohol, Cebu and Negros where the PSHF has field offices were badly hit with massive damage to crops and housing and tragically loss of life. We did an assessment of damage in our project areas and identified individuals and families who needed financial assistance to recover from damage to their homes or crops. A few people were in desperate straits with no real prospect of being able to rebuild their homes without outside assistance. Merbina Patiluna is one such person and we are happy to partially rebuild her family home and construct an outdoor comfort room (latrine), which the family never had before, at a cost of 35,000 pesos..
This is her story: Merbina has six children, her husband is in prison because he was convicted of murder and sentenced to 6 years in prison because it was deemed to be self-defence. In the evening of the typhoon, Merbina and four of her children: Orlan 24, Lester 17, Angel 12 and Acel 7) were in their home not thinking the upcoming storm would be strong. They soon realised this was not the case. By 7pm, they were frightened and at 8 pm one of the nearby coconut trees came down. That was the time they decided to evacuate. They first ran to a poultry house a few metres away from their home but the roof of the poultry house was blown away. They then ran towards a concrete house which was about 30 meters away but when they had almost reached it Merbina stumbled. Angel went back to help her mother and seconds later a coconut tree fell on to her. Her last words were “kuya (big brother) help me”, they all tried to get the coconut tree off her but it was too heavy. Merbina cried desperately for help. At 9 pm some of neighbours helped them to retrieve the lifeless body of Angel. It was a very tragic night. When morning came the family’s home was no more, 4 coconut trees had struck it overnight. One neighbour kindly gave them some coconut lumber and another neighbour gave them a tarpaulin to serve as temporary walls for their home. The mother of Merbina’s husband, who is a housemaid, asked her employer if she could advance her salary. Her employer agreed, so the advance salary was used to buy some tin roofing.
Merbina and Acel The new house under construction
(St John’s donation paid for this)