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Typhoon Bopha Victims Face Long Road to Recovery

A young boy kneels in front of the twisted rubble of his school.

By Nikki Massie

Warnita Pardillo
Warnita Pardillo and her family lost their home when Typhoon Bopha struck her community in the Philippines last month.

On the morning of December 4, War­nita Par­dillo, a 47-year-old mother of three, sat with her fam­ily wait­ing. She had been mon­i­tor­ing ra­dio broad­casts about Ty­phoon Bopha for days, knowing it was head­ing to­ward her town on the east­ern coast of the island of Min­danao in the Philippines.

As the winds grew stronger, War­nita and her hus­band de­bated whether it was safer to stay in their small wooden house or risk falling trees and elec­tric poles to seek shel­ter in a neighbor’s larger con­crete home.

“When I saw from a hole in my wall my neigh­bors cross­ing the street in search of a safer place,” she said, “I de­cided to grab my kids and run for the near­est safe place I could think of.” From se­cure shel­ter at their neigh­bor’s, War­nita and her hus­band watched as a co­conut tree fell, de­stroy­ing their home.

The Philip­pines is prone to trop­i­cal storms and ty­phoons and typ­i­cally ex­pe­ri­ences about 20 typhoons per year. How­ever, Ty­phoon Bopha was exceptionally strong and dam­ag­ing with 130 mile-per-hour winds and heavy rains. Even worse, this storm struck areas still struggling to recover from 2011’s Tropical Storm Washi, which followed nearly the same path.

Typhoon Bopha has affected more than 6.2 million people. More than 1,000 people have been confirmed dead by the government and more than 800 remain missing; nearly 170,000 homes have been damaged. But with the generous support of people like you, Lutheran World Relief is there to help.

LWR staff be­gan as­sess­ing the dam­age from Ty­phoon Bopha even be­fore the storm had fully departed to sea. Our response will focus on three of the hardest hit provinces: Surigao del Sur, Compestela Valley and Davao Oriental.

To help families coping with this disaster, LWR will work with local partners to distribute shelter kits, help families repair their homes, and will provide cash-for-work opportunities that give people the chance to earn income now for work that helps their community recover, like debris clearing.

And through the generous donations of Lutherans in the U.S., LWR has also shipped $1 million worth of LWR Quilts, Baby Care Kits and Personal Care Kits, containing basic hygiene items, to our warehouse in the Philippines where they’ll be distributed to families in need.

Thank you for responding quickly and generously to emergencies with your gifts, especially cash gifts. They allow us to move quickly on the ground, assessing damage, reaching out to families and planning responses that get families on the path to long-term recovery.

Nikki Massie is LWR’s Staff Writer.

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