Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Movin' on up: Typhoon Ketsana one year on

I visited the town of San Pedro in Laguna, the Philippines, in December 2009 following Typhoon Ketsana. I went back in August 2010 to see how the situation of children had improved.  

Lusminda and Danilo Morales outside their new home
© UNICEF Philippines/2010/Andy Brown

Ten-year-old Danilo Morales lives with his parents and eight brothers and sisters in a single room concrete house in South Ville resettlement community, San Pedro, Laguna. The family don’t have much but they’re grateful for it nonetheless. This time last year, the Morales family was among the 400,000 people forced to abandon their homes and seek shelter in evacuation centres as Typhoon Ketsana (known locally as Tropical Storm Ondoy) raged across the Laguna area. The storm pummelled the Morales’s shanty home in Landayan to pieces and the rising floodwaters swept away their possessions. They were lucky to escape with their lives.

“We were very afraid when the storm arrived,” Danilo’s mother Lusminda said. “It was raining hard and the flood waters were moving fast. My husband and I managed to get all the children safely to Landayan covered court, where we sheltered for the first few days.” The family were transferred to three different evacuation centres, before finally moving to their new home in South Ville. “It was a difficult time for us,” Lusminda recalled. “We had problems getting food, water, clothing and medicines when the children got sick.”

Things are much better now for the Morales. “We’re very happy to have our own home. It’s safe here and we don’t have to worry when it rains. The school is close by and we can go into town on the jeepney to buy food. My husband and I make a bit of money selling ‘taho’ but we’re looking for a better livelihood. I hope there are no more floods and we can live happily ever after”