Surviving after typhoon Yolanda

The story of a Filipino family who survived the strong typhoon that hit the Asian country in November 2013 and a reconstruction project carried out by the Focolare.

20140903-01Minx and Alfred, live in Kalibo, a Philippine island in the Province of Western Visayas, particularly affected by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), on 8 November 2013. Ever since they met the Focolare Movement, 29 years ago, their life has changed: “We started to serve God in every neighbour,” they tell us.

“The day before the arrival of the typhoon – they recall – we were warned by radio and TV but we listened to the news as if it was one of the many already suffered in the past. Our 4 children were home for the holidays at the end of the semester in school so we were all together when the strong winds and the rains began. It was the first time we experienced such a powerful storm: the windows shook, the roof began to peel off piece by piece and the big mango tree in our garden was uprooted and fell without, thankfully, hitting the house. The water from the rain began to come in everywhere and flooded the entire house. When the second floor began to shake, we thought everything would be destroyed.”

20140903-05In the midst of the disaster – Minx remembers – in my heart I said: ‘It is You, Lord, this tragedy is a face of your abandonment and I want to love you. Please, spare us all … ‘. That night, in the midst of darkness because of the black out, in bed, I thought about what surely must have happened to those who live in wooden houses. As the tears flowed, I prayed for them. Early in the morning, after seeing that we were all right, I went looking for our neighbours. There was only destruction and frightened faces everywhere. I tried to put aside my pain to welcome every suffering person I saw. A little girl, a friend of the family, weeping, told me: ‘Auntie Minx, we no longer have a home … paano na kami?’. Her innocent words broke my heart. I hugged her and I said, ‘Let’s not lose our love and faith in Jesus, let us pray and continue to love Him in others … Jesus will help us.’

Our prayer has been heard, because the next day aid started to arrive, first from family and friends and then from many parts of the world, through the Focolare. Now we even have a generator so we can carry on a small family business, given that the electricity has failed for many months. I tried to be always available at any time to give help. One of my sons said, ‘Mom, do you prefer to help others when we have nothing to repair our own house?’, because the water continued to come in when it rained. I reassured him: ‘Jesus will remember our kindness.’ After a few months we were surprised and happy because our house was included in the project of repair and reconstruction for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. It has now been repaired and even if other typhoons continue to arrive we feel more safe and secure. We are so grateful to God and to the Focolare, which has supported the project.”

20140903-03A reconstruction project for the victims of the typhoon. The Focolare Movement in the Philippines, with the support of Action for New Families (AFN) and the Association for a United World (AMU), is conducting a reconstruction project for 60 families. In Tacloban, 6 houses have been built and documents and permits are being prepared to begin construction of another 5; furthermore, a substantial contribution has been given to 7 families who had already begun work. In Baybay, a piece of new ground is being purchased on which to build. In Panay Island, in addition to the 5 houses already completed, another 7 are under construction, while negotiations are underway for the purchase of land on which twenty terraced houses will be built for families who did not own land. The houses are built with solid materials: concrete roofs with eaves, foundations and masonry walls, one or two floors (according to need), each one about 50 square metres in size.


FOCOLARE MOVEMENT IN CEBU – see also Emergency Aid poster

Payable to : Emergency Typhoon Haiyan Philippines


Cebu – Guadalupe Branch

6000 Cebu City – Cebu, Philippines

Tel: 0063-32-2533728


Euro Bank Account no.:  398-2-39860031-7


Payable to:  “Help Philippines– Typhoon Haiyan


Tel. 0063 (032) 345 1563 – 2537883 – 2536407

New Families Movement (AZIONE per FAMIGLIE NUOVE Onlus)

c/c bancario n° 1000/1060


IBAN: IT 55 K 03359 01600 100000001060




Related News