Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021
For most people across the globe, the past year and a half has been extremely tough. Covid-19 restrictions have reinforced the value of close family and friends. So, this year, Father’s Day provides an extra special opportunity to celebrate and show appreciation for fathers and father figures.
One man who deserves celebrating this Fathers Days is Jaime- a 59-year-old man who risked his own life to protect his family as Super Typhoon Goni swept through the Philippines on the 1st of November 2020.
It was around six in the morning when Super Typhoon Goni passed through Tiwi in Central Philippines where Jaime and his family live. Dark clouds with heavy rain and terrifying howls of winds up to 300 kilometres per hour enveloped the area. Many trees were already uprooted, and the river water level was increasing at a very alarming rate. Jaime and his family huddled together in a corner of their house. Cold and frightened, they prayed for their safety.
Suddenly, a huge gust of wind destroyed the posts supporting the house and the roof protecting them was blown. The walls cracked, and water entered the house.
“I immediately told my wife and daughter to run to our neighbour’s house when our home was destroyed. My heart was beating so fast. I needed to make sure they got to safety”, said Jaime.
Jaime stayed inside the bathroom – the only part of the house to withstand the strength of the storm.
Hours later, Jaime’s wife and daughter went back to the place where their family home once stood. There they found the remnants of their house and Jaime unconscious, collapsed on the floor.
Jaime was rushed to a nearby medical clinic where it took him three days to recover. Although he was alive, the event caused Jaime to experience mental trauma and fall into depression.
“My house is gone. I don’t know where to start. I don’t know what to do”, Jaime said with tears in his eyes. Before the cyclone, the family made around $5 per day. Now, Jaime says, “we don’t have anything. We didn’t even receive help or assistance from the government.”
When CBM’s Humanitarian Response project visited the village, Jaime and his wife were given mental health and psychosocial support along with cash assistance.
During the response, CBM reached over 700 families with cash support and provided mental health support to 900 people. Cash is used to buy food, medicine, home repairs, health care and hygiene items. The benefits of providing unconditional cash as part of a humanitarian response is that it can be distributed quickly to targeted households and gives freedom and flexibility to meet the diverse needs of each family.
With the financial assistance given by CBM, Jaime was able to buy sturdy materials to help rebuild his home and put some of it towards rebuilding their small business. He believes that they will stand up again, despite the scars left by the typhoon. Although still recovering from the trauma, Jaime trusts himself that he will do his best to heal and start a new life again with help from CBM.
“Thank you, CBM. I am crying right now because of joy. I am happy that there are people willing to help us. Words are not enough to describe how happy I am because of you,” Jaime said, with his hands on his heart. “CBM, you are heaven sent.”