By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News with reporting from the Philippines
“I feel so shy about this, but we really need help…All are damaged due to super Typhoon Odette,” Emely Laga, a devoted Christian and married mother of two, told Worthy News.
The 35-year-old Christian worker and her husband live in the hard-hit central island province of Bohol, where most people died, and rescue operations continued. “There is no water, no food, no electricity. All we need this time is water and food and especially prayer for all the people in Bohol,” she stressed.
Pictures sent to Worthy News showed her family’s village home in the Baclayon municipality partly without a metal sheet roof with water pouring everywhere. The typhoon is the deadliest to hit the Philippines this year.
Laga, who was injured when wood fell on her feet, said her family managed to hide from the typhoon in the house of her mother. “But my sister’s home was washed away,” she said, talking about the devastation in her area.
Laga was among the more than 300,000 people who had to flee their homes. The typhoon meant more difficulties for her family. “My husband works as a tricycle driver, but since the coronavirus pandemic [struck the Philippines], he has not enough income. And now we encounter this calamity,” she stressed.
However, Laga said that they are “grateful to be alive. We are all okay, my husband, two children, and my whole family. Although there are damages, we are grateful to be alive.”
She hoped to reach a doctor amid the devastation, but not everyone was so lucky. Rescuers and residents were still searching beneath the rubble for loved ones feared dead.
Laga said she was concerned that another brutal storm was coming their way after Rai, the 15th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year.
The typhoon hit landfall Thursday on Siargao Island, a popular tourist and surfing destination on the central east coast from where it moved to other areas, including Bohol.
The storm initially packed winds of up to 260 kilometers per hour (160 miles per hour) with gusts over 300 kilometers per hour (185 miles per hour), authorities said.
It later moved west, bringing with it heavy rain and widespread flooding.
Saturday, the typhoon had weakened and went towards Vietnam through the western island of Palawan, the Philippine National Weather Agency said.
Yet, heavy rain and strong winds were due to batter the region over the weekend as Rai continued to track west into the South China Sea.
It came as elsewhere a 4.6 earthquake was reported in the Philippines.
Residents in Tarlac province said they felt the tremors around Tarlac City, the provincial capital.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The calamities added to what Christians fear will be a sad Christmas as the nation still struggles to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
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