Philippines: A Grandmother's Story

MANILA  -- Teodora Castor, who lives in the city of Taguig, one of Manila’s poor suburbs, has never known flooding this bad. “I’ve lived for 34 years in the same home. Only three times have we experienced such massive flooding—in 1972, in 1986, and now. But this time was the worst and most unforgettable,” she says.

Teodora makes a living sewing dish rags. She lives with her three children and eight grandchildren. Her husband is unemployed. When the flooding was worst, she took all her grandchildren to the evacuation centre, where they would be safer.

“But yesterday, we decided to take them out of the overcrowded evacuation centre,” she says tearfully. "I don’t want them to get sick. Many children have gotten sick with cough, fever, colds as well as diarrhoea.”

Cleaning up

"We'll make do in our damaged home. My children and I take turns keeping an eye on them while we try to clean up what’s left of our home."

“I’m not even sure how we will make ends meet now. My sewing machine for the dish rags that I sell was drenched in the floods, and it’s now starting to rust and won't start. My son drives a public transport vehicle, a motorized tricycle, and it got completely soaked in the floods for days and won’t start any more either.”

“My grandchildren are my priority. They need food, rice as well as water to drink. The ones that are helping are giving us hope," says with a small smile, as she fondly talks some more about her grandchildren. "They are all that we have—for now.”