Single mother of 11 struggles to cope after Typhoon ‘Odette’

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GILDA Marikit’s home was heavily damaged when Typhoon “Odette” hit Cebu on the night of December 16, but the single mother of 11 said on Wednesday she had not received any form of government assistance.

No water, no food, no clothes, no tents.

Marikit, 40, and her family now live in a destroyed house with barely a roof in the Talong area, Barangay Paknaan in Mandaue City. She calls on the government and the private sector to help victims like her in the community, which so far has been under floodwater.

The Central Visayas Environmental Management Office assessed Barangay Paknaan as one of the villages in Mandaue city vulnerable to flooding.

Marikit recalled that when strong winds started to whip their sitio, her house, which was made of light materials, shook. The floodwaters started to rise and her family had to be moved to a nearby relative’s house for shelter.

“We were scared. I was traumatized. It was the first time that I had suffered a very big storm. Our house shook, then the wall was taken down, we ran individually because our roof was taken off,” he said. she told the Manila Times in Bisaya.

Marikit said she first took her youngest daughter Faith Niña, 4, and asked her other children to babysit their siblings during their evacuation.

“It was pitch dark. We just used a flashlight,” Marikit said.

Marikit’s eldest child, John Glenn, 21, who lives in another village with his own family, also lost his home to the typhoon. She was grateful that all of her 10 children were safe.

She said they barely slept that night because the wind was fierce and the water kept rising.

When the rains finally stopped, Marikit said the floodwaters had reached chest level.

“A lot of roofs were washed away and garbage was everywhere,” said Marikit.

Now, to survive, she and other family members have to queue every day to get water from an artesian well.

“We don’t have water. We just boil the water from the well,” she said.

Since there is still no electricity, they use a small gas lamp to light up their night.

“All of our clothes were wet [after the typhoon] and we had nothing to wear, ”said Marikit.

She said her average P2,000 monthly income from laundry jobs is not enough for them to get by.

Marikit and her 10 children – Christian Jay, 20; Avril Jake, 18; Fritz Gérald, 17 years old; Charles David, 16 years old; Joshua, 14 years old; Princess Aubrey, 12; June Robert, 10; Precious Novie, 9; Nathanaël, 6 years old; and Faith Niña – sleep on a mat on the floor.

“When it rained, the water would seep into the house and wake the children up,” she said.

On Christmas Eve, they slept in the dark and hungry because they had nothing to eat for Noche Buena.

After doing laundry for a household in another village on Wednesday, Marikit and her son Joshua went straight to a public cemetery in Mandaue City to visit her husband’s grave.

December 29 was the first anniversary of the death of her husband, who died of diabetes, heart failure and internal organ complications. Marikit recalled that she had never had the chance to be with her dying husband in hospital due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Marikit said they also don’t have plans for New Years Eve as they don’t have any food to prepare.

She also said two of her children were already dropping out of school.

“I hope my children can finish their studies and someone will sponsor them. I hope I can rebuild our house so that my children can sleep well as they do not have a decent sleeping area,” said Marikit .

The National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management reported that Odette affected at least 1,074,169 families or 4,204,601 people in southwest Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

The Mandaue city government recorded seven deaths from the typhoon.


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