Philippines: Left With Nothing, You'll Be Surprised At This Family's Priority
Published on 2 July 2014

The Tubola family of Leyte didn't let Haiyan sweep away the memories of the past, nor would they let it interfere with the memories they're making for their future.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), has provided cash assistance to the most vulnerable families affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Analy Tubola, a housewife and mother of five children, shares how the money she received has allowed her to save for her children's future.

TANAUAN, LEYTE – “We took comfort in numbers,” Analy explains, “We were among four families that evacuated to my neighbour’s house the day before. The wind and rain were relentless. We were terrified and the children wouldn’t stop crying. We were warned of the typhoon’s intensity, but we never imagined it would be that bad. We felt helpless, so we began to pray.”

When the rains ceased, the Tubola family returned to what was left of their house only to find that it had been completely washed away. They retrieved their remaining belongings from the ruins and sought refuge at the house of her husband, Margarito’s former employer who took the family in for the night. 

“I have the good fortune of being married to a carpenter,” says Analy smiling at her husband who was also wearing a smile on his face. “So it only took a day till we were able to move into a new house. It wasn’t like our old house, but it was better than living at an evacuation center. For the time being, it was home.” 

Job offers kept Margarito busy in the days following Haiyan, and the money he was paid provided the family with some income, but he still wasn’t earning enough for the family to get back on their feet. 

Like thousands across Leyte province, Analy and her family spent the next weeks living on relief goods. “We were thankful to receive relief goods from WFP and the DSWD. We didn’t have much money saved, so whatever amount we could put away instead of buying food made a big difference.”

“Those days were hard, but I kept thanking God that He kept my loved ones safe, my children especially. They are our pride and joy. They study hard and do their best in school to have a better future. They make us so happy and proud,” says the 36-year-old mother pointing at a table covered with numerous medals and some trophies. “It’s what represents their hard work that we began to save first – their medals. Inevitably, some were washed away, but we were able to dig most out of the rubble.”

Before the typhoon, Analy and Margarito were doing their best to make ends meet for their children’s education, and their efforts were rewarded with their children's consistent honours and competition wins. “One of our greatest concerns when we lost everything was their schooling. We had a list of items and materials that they needed to buy, and as the restart of the school year approached, we didn’t know how we would be able to afford them,” explains Analy.

Family smiling with the children's academic medals
These awards and medals were among the first things Analy and Margarito saved at the onset of the typhoon.
Photo: WFP Philippines/ Anthony Chase Lim

“We found out about WFP’s Cash Assistance Programme through the Parent Leader group in our children's school as well as the DSWD. My husband and I were so happy; we breathed a sigh of relief! The financial help we received from WFP allowed us to continue to provide for our children’s needs, especially for their food. School materials, medicines, vitamins, and clothes were also among the items we were able to purchase.” 

The cash assistance programme, which helped 500,000 people from fifty municipalities in Leyte, Samar, and Panay including Analy and her family, was made possible with contributions from Austria, Azerbaijan, Greece, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States.

“We are truly grateful to WFP, DSWD, and their donors!” claims Analy. “Because of you, my children have a chance to continue their education and not waste years of hard work. As my family puts Haiyan behind us, my children’s futures continue to look bright.”

WFP Offices
About the author

Anthony Chase Lim

Anthony Chase Lim is the Documentation Officer for WFP Philippines' Manila country office. Follow him at @WFPchase.