When Super Typhoon Goni hit villages on the coast of Tiwi Albay in the Philippines, it left thousands of people with nothing. But, with help from a Tearfund partner, they’re starting to get back on their feet.
Most of the people in this community are farmers, or catch and sell fish for a living. Houses are built on stilts, and are scattered along the coast and mountainside. When the typhoon hit on 31 October 2020, it caused a storm surge of up to four metres (10 feet) high, engulfing homes and schools.
Across the affected areas of the Philippines, at least 24 people were killed, and more than 300,000 were forced to flee their homes. Buildings and crops were also destroyed.
Rowena has lived in Tiwi Albay for 29 years, with her husband and a teenage daughter. They lost their home and two fishing boats during the typhoon, but escaped with their lives.
Before the typhoon came, we received warning from our barangay (local authorities),’ says Rowena. ‘We evacuated to the mountain across the road. We didn’t expect the typhoon to be so strong.
We saw the waves and flood waters rising. It was very scary to watch as the beach completely covered the shore and rose higher than the main road.
My husband wanted to go down to get some of our things, but I told him not to because the waters were already 10 feet high. The waves crashed and engulfed our house. We had two boats and one of them got broken. We also had a bicycle sidecar that was swept away by the waves.
The flood waters from the mountains and the waves from the sea washed away homes on the shoreline. This is the first time that our house was washed away completely. There have been many storms that came here in the past. But for the first time, everything was washed away.