Sunday, May 09

Helping each other recover

September 24, 2018 | Jamaica Digo

Almost crippled by stroke, Sabas Capili, 60, (right) cannot begin to rebuild his family's house. Tzu Chi volunteers visited him on September 23. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

Story Highlights

  • As Tzu Chi volunteers continued to survey the situation of families affected by Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) in Baggao, Cagayan on September 23, they found a stroke patient who could not begin to rebuild his house because of his condition. With the neighbors pledging support in the construction work, Tzu Chi volunteers immediately acted and bought materials to start the rebuilding.


As Tzu Chi volunteers continue to assess the situation of Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) survivors in Baggao, Cagayan, they reached Barangay Awallan, where they found Rosemarie Lawigan, 52, at the ruins of her home. She was scavenging for construction materials that can still be used in constructing a temporary shelter.

During the typhoon’s onslaught, a tornado had swept through this community, flattening the houses of several families.

“Many typhoons passed this way but our house was never damaged before until this storm because the wind is too strong,” recounted Rosemarie.

Houses made from light materials can easily crumple from disasters, but in the case of Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) it’s remarkable that even structures made of concrete suffered severe damages. Use of cheap and poor-quality construction materials turned out to be the reason for such incident.

One house made of concrete in Barangay Alba was left with disintegrating walls. The owner had patched up the hollows that the typhoon had made with zinc sheets and scavenged canvas.

“Even if there is no typhoon, it is already too dangerous for the family to live in this house,” remarked Tzu Chi volunteer James Chua. He advised the owner to use better quality materials in rebuilding.

But in the province, where the residents earn their keep from farming, income is hard to come by. They have to wait for three months until they can harvest their produce and earn. In between those months, they would accept labor works so they will have daily money to bring home to their families. In such a tight financial situation, rebuilding after the calamity would have to wait.

This is how it is for the family of Sabas Capili, 60, who is almost crippled by stroke.

The typhoon had felled his house. The family, comprised of Sabas, his wife Josephine, and their two children, sleep in the narrow space that the typhoon had left from their house. They put old canvas over them to serve as roofing.

Due to his condition, Sabas stays home while his wife and 18-year-old son work as farmers to support the family’s needs. Their neighbors were eager to help the family rebuild. They were the ones who built Sabas’ house two years ago, when the family first moved in the village. This time however, they don’t have the construction materials to start the construction work.

When Tzu Chi volunteers heard this, they pooled their money and managed to collect Php 6,000, which they gave to Sabas’ neighbor Deog Gannaban. The volunteers instructed Deog to buy good quality zincs sheets and nails.

Hearing this, Deog grew emotional. “It’s difficult for Sabas to move around and now his house is down. They have no other place to stay. I really feel for him. Thank you for your help. He will be able to rebuild his house,” he said.

“We are going to buy zinc sheets and our neighbors will work together to build his house,” Deog added.

The following day, the volunteers revisited Sabas and found his old house gone. His family had moved into a makeshift shelter made from the zinc sheets that were bought using the donation from the Tzu Chi volunteers. It will keep them sheltered until his neighbors have finished rebuilding his house.

To ensure that they will be building a sturdier home for Sabas, the volunteers once again pooled their money and donated another Php 7,000 so the family could buy cement and sand.

Sabas was full of gratitude to the Tzu Chi volunteers and his neighbors. “This is an unexpected help. If no one is going to help, it will take a long time for us to rebuild. With your help, it will be over within a week,” he happily said.

  • Houses made from concrete were not spared by Typhoon Ompong's (Mangkhut) wrath. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • During their survey of typhoon-affected areas, Tzu Chi volunteers discovered that many houses suffered extensive damages because the residents used cheap and poor-quality construction materials. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Almost a week since the typhoon, some survivors still have not been able to rebuild their houses and are staying in makeshift shelters. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers' presence lift the spirits of the typhoon survivors. At every place they visit, the volunteers would tell the residents to accept what happened, to be grateful for having survived the calamity, and to do good deeds. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • In an effort to bring peace among the typhoon survivors' hearts, Tzu Chi volunteers give them encouraging and comforting words. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) almost felled this house. Its owner used woods as support to keep it standing. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • A tornado swept this community during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut). As a result, several families lost their homes. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Josephine Capili shares with a Tzu Chi volunteer that they have been unable to rebuild their house because they do not have the money yet to buy construction materials. Josephine and her 18-year-old son are laborers in a yellow corn plantation. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • The typhoon turned the house of Sabas Capili upside down. The family put up scavenged canvas over the ruins so they could still sleep there. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers pooled their money, collecting Php6,000, to buy tin sheets and nails for the reconstruction of Sabas Capili's house. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Sabas Capili's neighbors pledged to work together in order to rebuild Sabas' house. They cheer "Help Build Sabas’ House!" 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers revisited Sabas Capili on September 24. They saw the new tin sheets, which were bought using Tzu Chi volunteers' cash donations. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers instruct Sabas Capili's neighbors to strengthen the foundation of the new house they will be building by using cement. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Deog Gannaban, 45, neighbor and stepbrother of Sabas Capili, (left) is thankful for the unexpected help from the Tzu Chi volunteers. To ensure that they will be building a sturdier home for Sabas, the volunteers donated another Php 7,000 for construction materials such as cement and sand. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers thank Sabas Capili's neighbors for stepping up to say that they will help wth the reconstruction for free. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】


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