“We have learned to face natural calamities that come now and then... but every calamity is different.”
Fe Herreras, who lives in Zone 4 in Barangay (village) Yakal, Municipality of Catarman, Northern Samar, Philippines, has always been aware of the risks that heavy rains bring to their area, which is prone to flooding.
She, her husband Francisco, a dedicated pedicab driver, and their grandson lived in a home composed of light materials, ensuring they were prepared for any situation.
“We have learned to face natural calamities that come now and then,” Fe said. “But every calamity is different.”
She recalled the events of November 20, 2023, and how local authorities requested that her family, like many others, leave their area to seek safety elsewhere due to the threat of severe flooding.
They hurriedly assembled the necessary goods and household items and headed for the designated evacuation center, arranged by the local government for everybody’s safety and security.
But they had great concern for their buried home, and life in the middle was anything but comfortable. They did not have any other options but were open to any eventualities that may come along.
After the floods subsided, it was a devastating experience to return home.
The strong currents that seriously damaged their home had swept away most of their possessions.
Fe and Francisco found hope and solace in the assistance they received from the local and barangay governments, as well as from kind-hearted individuals who offered help when it was needed.
Caritas Catarman and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provided additional assistance. Fe and her family benefited from the emergency response that Caritas Catarman and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provided.
These two church-based organizations gave families impacted by the tragedy financial support, enabling them to start fixing their damaged homes and buy food.
“We are so grateful to many Caritas Catarman, CRS, NGOs, people, and others, besides government agencies, that have helped us since the flooding happened.”
“Despite everything, life must go on. We need to move on with courage and grit,” Fe said.
Fe felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the support they had received while gradually rebuilding their lives.
“We are so grateful to many Caritas Catarman, CRS, NGOs, people, and others, besides government agencies, that have helped us since the flooding happened,” Fe said with teary eyes.
She and her husband are on the road to recovery thanks to the assistance of the relief organizations and her family's tenacity.
With the assistance of Caritas Catarman and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), they made a firm decision to reconstruct their house and their lives gradually, depending on their unwavering determination and trust in the goodness of humanity to overcome the challenges.
Caritas Catarman is a diocesan social service. It is one of the 85-strong Diocesan Social Action Centers in the Philippines that are church-based humanitarian, development, and advocacy arms. All function as Caritas Philippines under the aegis of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Caritas is present all over the Philippines and the world.
On the other hand, CRS Philippines is part of Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. - With CRS Philippines inputs