Dwindling Income and Rising Prices Prevent Shelter Repair in Affected Areas of the Philippines

“God, please save my seven children!” Marivic Arabes pled as Typhoon Haiyan devastated the coastal town of Poblacion Barangay, where she and her family live.

As Typhoon Haiyan approached Marivic’s village, she gathered her seven children and fled across the street to a neighbor’s house to take refuge from the coming storm, along with ten other families. While the howling winds and swaying electric posts frightened Marivic, she says, “I really cried not because I’m afraid to die, but because I’m happy that my seven children are all safe. That’s all I needed at that moment.”

Marivic and her husband, Zenas, are the parents of seven children between the ages of one and 16. Marivic stays at home to take care of the children, while Zenas is a tricycle driver in town. Through his work he makes 80 to 100 Philippine pesos ($1.80 to $2.30) per day to feed and provide for a family of nine, which can be difficult. “Honestly, we do not know how we are able to survive every single day. Our children are helping by gathering seashells and joining fishing trips just so we can have dinner. There are times when my husband and I are not eating because we only have enough food for the children,” Marivic shared.

Following Typhoon Haiyan, conditions are even more dire for Marivic’s family as they worry her husband’s income will be hurt by the typhoon. “People are no longer [using local transportation]…in hope of saving some money,” Zenas noted.

In addition, the price of basic household items and food continues to climb. Zenas reported that “the price of fish before was 120 Philippine pesos ($2.75) per kilo, [but] after the typhoon, it reached 200 Philippine pesos ($4.60).”

As income dwindles and the cost of food and supplies rise, Marivic is not able to afford materials to repair their house, which was severely damaged by the storm. Zenas told LWR, “I hope that someone can help my family in rebuilding our homes. I can find a way to provide for our daily food, but buying new roof sheets and walls would take years of saving.”

Please consider giving to LWR and enabling us to help thousands of families just like Marivic and Zenas’ family who no longer have a home to live in following Typhoon Haiyan. With your support, LWR has already begun working with a local partner to provide emergency shelter repair kits to an initial 5,000 households storm-affected areas. Read more about situation in the Philippines and how LWR is responding.

LWR’s Project Officer for Emergency Response in the Philippines, Cathy Gordo, gathered this information and shared the storm of Marivic and her family following a recent assessment trip to typhoon-affected areas.