Erlinda, 68, is one of the older people who lost their home due to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). She lives with her husband Cenon, 69, in the Philippines. They have 2 children who are married already and do not live with them. During Typhoon Haiyan, the couple struggled together to survive.

“My husband and I were farmers on land we rented. Farming has been our way of life. I felt content with the adequate harvest we got from the farm.

“This was our life until Typhoon Haiyan came. It was the strongest typhoon I had encountered in my whole life.

Erlinda-Luchavez3-Al-Casal“That day, when the typhoon came, I was afraid. There was just the two of us in the house and the wind was really strong. Our house could not stand the typhoon and I saw the roof blow away. My husband and I decided to go to a big concrete house nearby. It was difficult to get there because lots of debris was flying above us that could have hit us.

“When we went to the big house there were other neighbours there who had also come. I grew more afraid because I could feel the typhoon shake the house and could hear the roof flapping. We were all soaked inside. After 3 hours of strong winds, we felt it slow down. All of us went outside. I was shaking out of fear and I was soaked. I held my husband and we saw what had happened around us. Immediately, we ran to our house and saw it had been totally destroyed. The only thing that remained was the floor. I was shocked and started to worry.

“There was no place to go because all of us were affected. Our farm was destroyed too. I became more worried. My husband tried to gather parts of our house and out of these, he made a makeshift house. It became our temporary house for more than 5 months.

“One day someone from HelpAge-COSE gave me a coupon which I presented at the Palawan Pawnshop (remittance centre in the Philippines) to receive cash. A month after the typhoon, there were a group of people who interviewed us and assessed our situation. The staff from HelpAge-COSE then confirmed the assessment and explained that I had been selected as a beneficiary for the Shelter cash transfer. I was surprised and happy about the good news. I received a total of US $232 (Php 10,000).

“My husband was grateful when he heard the news. After receiving the money, we immediately bought materials for our house.

Erlinda-Luchavez5-Aldrin-Norio“I saw our new house being rebuilt. Though it is not as big as our old house, it is enough to live comfortably. I now sleep well and my husband is happy too. I am thankful to HelpAge-COSE for the help. For me, it was a relief.  My husband and I went back to planting our farm. We are like a newlywed couple with a new house. Now we can sleep well.”