One year after Haiyan: older people caring for multiple generations

Eleazar, 61, has 5 children and 4 grandchildren. His youngest daughter Eleabe, 9, has had a visual impairment since birth. He’s taken care of Eleabe since his wife died in 2008. Two of his children live with him together with their children. On 8 November 2013, they survived the strongest typhoon they have ever encountered.

“There were 4 of us in the house when the typhoon came. I was cooking at the time and suddenly the wind blew hard. I did not finish cooking but decided that we should go to our nearby house which has a basement. There we joined my neighbours who had also evacuated. It was raining hard and the water poured into the basement. There was no safe place to go at that time so we scooped the water out using pales so that we could stay hiding underground.

After a few hours the wind calmed down. As we came out, I was shocked to see the destruction. All the trees had fallen down and everything was cleared around us. Then I saw my house was not standing anymore and I became worried, realising that our home had been destroyed.

With the help of my son who was living with me, we made a temporary makeshift house out of the materials from our old house and other scrap left by the typhoon. We lived like this for more than 5 months. Relief goods came 2 weeks after the typhoon struck.

Eleaza-feature-2On April 10, I received financial aid from HelpAge-COSE worth 10, 000 pesos. I was very happy to hear the news that I had been selected as a beneficiary. After receiving the money I immediately bought materials for the house. It took nearly three weeks to build my new home. If it weren’t for the assistance from HelpAge-COSE I would still be living in my makeshift house.

At the moment, I sell seashells 2-3 times a week to earn a living. My son who works in a construction firm earns more than me but combining all of our income is not enough to buy our daily needs. I wish I could go to work again in the construction firm but I’m not that strong anymore. I broke my right leg after an accident while working for the firm before. This was the reason I stopped and my son replaced me.

I hope that more aid will come. Especially for my youngest daughter who is blind. I tried to take her to a doctor but was advised to consult another doctor (a neuro specialist). I did not pursue this because we did not have enough money for the check-up. I will continue to take care of my daughter and my family as long as I can earn money from selling seashells and we have food at the table to eat.”