Update: Life After Storm Washi

In the three months since Tropical Storm Washi hit the Philippines, ICM has been touched by your outpouring of gifts, donations and prayers for those affected.   Because the poor are always the most vulnerable during disasters,  ICM had to respond  quickly to the needs of Washi’s victims.  Due to your generosity, within a week ICM was able to mobilize people and resources to provide life-saving packages of rice, canned food, bottled water and other necessities.  Thank you for making this possible.

ICM’s Communications Officer in Dumaguete, Gerard Adiong, turned in the following account of one of the families hardest hit by the storm:  

Tropical Storm Washi (or Sendong, as it is know locally) was the world’s deadliest storm in 2011.  The typhoon and the resulting flash floods killed over a thousand people, destroyed countless homes and left survivors in desperate need. ICM recipients Joseph and Virna Cadalin and their six kids lived in one of the disaster areas.  Their seven-year old son and six-year old daughter are ICM Elementary Scholars.

Typhoon Sendong hit the province at dawn and the  household of Joseph and Virna Cadalin was caught unaware. Joseph was changing the baby’s diaper when the creek near their house suddenly rose.  Joseph and Virna each grabbed two of the younger children and quickly sought shelter on higher ground, yelling for their two older children to follow.  Thirteen year-old Evangeline ran to the pig pen and twelve-year old Ray ran back inside the house.  As Joseph and Virna and the four children they carried reached safety, they looked back and could only helplessly watch as the floodwaters rose, sweeping away the house and their other two children.

Upon hearing of the Cadalin family’s loss, Pastors Noli Gallego and Samuel Templado, ICM Dumaguete’s Area Head, went to visit the grieving family.  ICM Dumaguete came alongside the family to provide emotional and spiritual support, as well as financial assistance for the burial of Ray and Evangeline and for building materials for a new home.  Joseph used the assistance to build a small cottage several meters from where their house once stood. The Cadalin Family expressed their deep thanks to ICM staff for help and support in their time of greatest need.

Lilian Bardinas, ICM’s Strategic Department Head in Dumaguete, was one of those who was also deeply affected by the storm.  Back in January, we shared Lilian’s story about her wedding day, which proceeded in spite of the storm washing away her home.  Instead of a honeymoon, she spend the days after her wedding digging out what belongings she could find.  Lilian and Eduardo’s story was covered internationally by CNN. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO SPOTLIGHT)

Here’s an update from Lilian:

“Many people ask me, ‘Why did you continue with the wedding?’ I tell them, ‘There’s no reason not to continue the wedding because God preserved the two of us even though the strong typhoon washed away all our earthly possessions and our house. The loss of all our material things will never be the reason to stop life. We have each other to share and to love. There is still hope, there is a reason to celebrate, there are still many good things that are yet to come…”

Not long after the storm, Lillian was interviewed on a local television show.  During the interview Lilian and Eduardo explained that it is not only material things that count in life but really that what matters most is our relationship with God.  At the end of the interview, Lilian and Eduardo were surprised with a 4-day honeymoon vacation in Boracay, a highly popular vacation spot in the Philippines!

We thank the Cadalin Family and Lilian & Eduardo for sharing their stories with us.  They represent two out of thousands of families affected by the storm.

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