The water was rising to their bed when 87-year-old Tatay Marcelo woke up from his afternoon siesta so he and 66-year-old Nanay Francisca immediately packed some clothes and walked through the floods to reach the nearest evacuation center.

san mateo disaster efforts old man and woman with sleeping mat

Tatay Marcelo smiles to comfort the teary Nanay Francisca when they saw their house again, still soaked in water and mud, due to heavy rains last Saturday, August 11.

“I tip toed through the waters because it is already up to my neck. I did not let go of his hand until we were able to pass through the floods,” Nanay Francisca remembered their close-to-death journey during that time.

“My thoughts that time, if we died here at least we died together,” Tatay Marcelo shared.

Nanay Francisca cries while checking her sleeping mat and other personal belongings.

The water level in their house rose up to the second story. Tatay Marcelo and Nanay Francisca’s semi-permanent house was built near the San Mateo River.

Upon reaching Maly Elementary School, the nearest evacuation center, Tatay Marcelo and Nanay Francisca settled in one of the classrooms along with other family evacuees, amounting to 800 individuals, who braced through the heavy rains that brought flashfloods to their homes.

Nanay Francisca was assisted by an Operation Blessing staff after receiving relief packs.

Tatay Marcelo and Nanay Francisca usually stay at home and depends on Tatay’s pension as their source of income, which comes every 2 months. Nanay sells mangoes every morning so that they have money for food. Their children, who have their own families, also shares food with them.

But while staying in the evacuation center for 3 days, they only depended on the hot meals prepared by the local government.

Affected families were grouped for a psychosocial activity.

To help sustain them for several days, Operation Blessing Foundation, Philippines reached out to the evacuees by providing relief packs that contains 6 kilos of rice grains, 6 packs instant noodles, 6 canned goods, 1 pack of sugar, coffee, milk, and a Bible to every family.

Psychosocial activities were conducted through the Operation Blessing church partners to help the survivors process the trauma, stress, and anxieties that they encountered during the disaster.

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