Single mother of eleven children struggles to survive after Typhoon “Odette”


GILDA Marikit’s home was badly damaged when typhoon “Odette” lashed Cebu on the night of December 16, but the single mother of 11 said on Wednesday that she had not received any form of emergency aid from the government.

Neither water, food, clothing, nor tents.

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

The environmental management bureau in Central Visayas rated Barangay Paknaan as one of the villages in Mandaue City at risk of flooding.

Marikit remembered that her house, made of lightweight materials, shook when strong winds began to whip her sitio. The tides began to rise and her family had to move to a nearby relative’s home for shelter.

“We were scared. I was traumatized. It was the first time I had a very bad storm. Our house shook and then the wall was removed, we walked one by one because our roof was removed,” she told the Manila Times in Bisaya.

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

“It was pitch black. We only used a flashlight, â€said Marikit.

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

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

When the rain finally stopped, Marikit said the tide came up to her chest.

“A lot of roofs were blown away and there was rubbish everywhere,” says Marikit.

To survive, she and other members of her family have to stand in line every day to fetch water from an artesian well.

“We have no water. We just boil the water from the well,” she said.

Since there is no electricity yet, they light up their night with a small gas lamp.

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

She said her average monthly salary of 2,000 pesos washing clothes was not enough to make ends meet.

Marikit and her 10 children РChristian Jay, 20; April Jake, 18; Fritz Gerald, 17; Charles David, 16; Joshua, 14; Princess Aubrey, 12; June Robert, 10; Precious Novie, 9; Nathanael, 6; and Faith Ni̱a Рsleep on a mat on the floor.

“When it rained, water trickled into the house and woke the children,” she said.

On Christmas Eve they slept in the dark and on an empty stomach because they had nothing to eat for Noche Buena.

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

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

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

She also said two of her children have already skipped school.

“I hope that my children can graduate and that someone sponsors them. I hope that I can convert our house so that my children can sleep well because they don’t have a decent place to sleep,” said Marikit.

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

Mandaue city council recorded seven deaths from the typhoon.


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