Typhoon Bopha - Case study: Mary Chris Limbwasan

Publié: 11 janvier 2013 11:40 CET

On 4 December 2012, Typhoon Bopha made landfall on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines. It was the worst disaster to hit the country in the past year, affecting more than 6 million people and causing more than 1,000 deaths. One month later, thousands of families are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

The Philippine Red Cross continues to actively respond to needs in communities across the affected region, and the provision of shelter assistance remains a key priority – particularly for families that are currently residing in evacuation centres.

Mary Chris Limbwasan is one of the many people who needs a new home. “The typhoon was very strong,” she says. “I saw coconut trees falling and the floodwater getting near our house. My father told me to evacuate but I hesitated because my husband was not with us. I was afraid to go by myself with my child.”

Mary Chris arrived safely at the evacuation centre managed by the Philippine Red Cross. She has been living there with her husband and her daughter 18-month-old daughter Nicole since the storm hit.

“I was carrying my child and the wind almost blew us. The flood almost swept us. Fortunately, someone pulled us to safety. If no one had held us, the wind and waters would have definitely taken us both,” she says.

“We receive a lot of donations from the Red Cross, such as rice and canned goods. They really help a lot and I am very thankful to Red Cross for that. Without their support, we wouldn’t survive. They provided free check-ups, medicines and vitamins.”

Mary Chris also recalls how the Philippine Red Cross taught her how to read warnings before a disaster strikes. When there is signal level 3, it means it is time to evacuate.

“A mother like me should always be prepared to leave,” Mary Chris says. “Even as early as signal 1, for her child’s safety.”