Dina Fortich is part of CRS’ emergency response team in the Philippines. She filed this story from the Philippines.
“I have lost my vision, but I can still see that something good will come out of this tragedy,” says Teresita de Leon, mother of five. A native Philippino, Teresita has been blind from glaucoma since 2004. But on October 18, when Typhoon Juan struck, she felt she could actually see the storm’s eye pummeling and destroying her home–the wind was so strong and its howl was so deafening.
The typhoon (internationally known as Megi) made landfall in Isabela province, where Teresita lives in a village. In a matter of hours the tremendous rains and powerful winds left many of the province’s soon-to-be harvested crops and farm lands damaged. Roads were muddied and impassable, electrical posts toppled, and century-old trees were uprooted. Houses were either partially or totally damaged.
Teresita and her family survived the storm, but “I definitely never want anything like that to happen again,” says her husband, 44-year-old Julian de Leon. A farm laborer, Julian’s income can’t support his family’s daily needs. The morning after Typhoon Juan, he felt helpless as he saw the bamboo and roof sheets of his old house scattered everywhere. He knew that it would take many days of hard labor in the field in order to earn enough to rebuild his home. And there was no guarantee he could work in the fields because of the storm damage.
So when Catholic Relief Services approached Julian about a shelter construction project, he was grateful. With the materials assistance and the training he received on safe building techniques, Julian is confident that he can finally build a home that can withstand the fury of coming storms and where his family can be safe.
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