This personal account of Antipolo Project Coordinator Malou Navioís experience during Typhoon Ondoy (also called Ketsana) just arrived. Malou said the staff has to travel through alleys on balsa boats to reach CFCA families. Many of them are scattered in different evacuation centers. At present, the homes of 1,024 Antipolo families are submerged in floodwaters.
The downpour of heavy rains began at dawn on Sept. 26. Then it became unusual in the morning. I was working at the office that time. I and six other staff left our office to sweep away the rain water continuously pouring in and preventing access to the room of the community workers. Some staff moved the folders and documents hurriedly from the lowest drawers of the filing cabinets onto the top of the cabinets and desks.
The height of the floodwater on the street in front of our office was getting high. I left them while they were still sweeping to rush home because a niece of mine called telling me that our home was flooded. The place to pass through going home flooded to chest level. My niece and sister-in-law said they were trapped on the second floor of our home.
Then, on the street where I stopped, I witnessed peopleóchildren and older personsówet and chilled. People were helping to guide one another to where to pass safely. I saw people scampering to their rooftops. All were looking for elevated places to stand. Some women were crying with their children. I helped a mother with a newborn baby wet from the flood and brought them in the office until the rain and flooding subsided.
We are used to flooding but it was the first time we experienced that kind. Our town and many other towns turned into a water world. Three of our staff with seven ERPAT (fathers group) officers were stranded for two days in Teresa, Rizal, while conducting a seminar in school with parent leaders.
In the Antipolo project, eight of us live in different places. Our homes were inundated, and our streets are still flooded.
We appreciate the alertness of the leaders and ERPAT fathers for their effort to rescue. One of them is recovering now from severe injury.
I conducted emergency meetings with the staff and parent leaders to discuss strategy for rescue and relief. The staff and I with ERPAT leaders took turns cooking meals to bring to evacuation centers where sponsored members were staying. I went with other staff to the different communities where I was able to see the situation of the sponsored members and their devastated homes, and I listened to their stories.
I strongly believe, as do many of them (one of them is Ricardo, the father of Rachel, a sponsored girl whose story I shared), that this is happening because of the climate change and the global warming. We sustain the sponsorship program with a commitment to care for Godís creation.
The story of Rachel