By Jennifer Hardy, CRS Communications Officer
When Typhoon Bopha swept through Mindanao in the Philippines on 3 December, hundreds of thousands of people found themselves without shelter that night. New Bataan was especially hard hit. The neighbourhood of Andap lost 300 homes in a devastating mudslide. More than 900 people are reported missing since the storm, including 300 people in New Bataan alone.
Those who survived say they feel blessed to be alive, but for those who escaped the mudslide in Andap, they faced the morning of 4 December with nothing but the clothes they were wearing that night.
Olimpio Leon lost his home, and members of his extended family, in the mudslide. He is now staying with his wife and children in an evacuation centre in the local high school.
“Around four in the morning, the sky was dark with the storm and the winds were very strong,” he recalls of Bopha’s approach. “At six, we started to evacuate to the elementary school. We had a few valuable things with us. We heard on the news that New Bataan was the centre of the storm, but we had no idea it would be so strong.”
“At seven,” he adds, “the storm was getting worse, and we needed to leave the elementary school. We couldn’t carry anything because the storm was very bad. We took a shortcut to the high school. I’m glad we didn’t take the road because the mudslide came down when we would have been on it. By 8:30, the storm started to ease, but we also began to hear people shouting about the mudslide.” Continue reading