Josephine remembers an ordinary, quiet October morning with her baby still sleeping in a hammock.
Suddenly, her house began to shake, and the air filled with rumbling noises, repeated prayers and floating dust and debris.
The earthquake was one of three to rock North Cotabato in the Philippines between October 16 and 31, killing 23 people and causing tens of thousands to leave their damaged homes.
The roof on Josephine’s house had caved in and the structural damage made it unsafe to enter. Her 12-member household, including extended family, had nowhere to go, so they set up a makeshift tent beside their house.
Josephine’s husband, who works on a banana farm, was forced to stop temporarily owing to water system damages and possible landslides. Now in addition to shelter problems, their large family was facing economic challenges. Josephine began giving traditional massages in an attempt to earn some extra cash.
Then, thanks to Plan International’s cash assistance program, supported by the Humanitarian Coalition and the government of Canada, 1300 households, including Josephine’s, were given money to purchase the basic necessities.
The cash assistance helped Josephine’s family meet their urgent needs, such as rice, good lumber for house repair, and a nebulizer for her niece who suffers from asthma.
“We do not have to bring her to the hospital for a nebulizer, especially now that travel is restricted because of the COVID19 virus,” she said.“We are really impressed by how Plan International works. The cash assistance was timely.”
Looking back, Josephine says she cannot imagine how they were able to survive. But they are slowly rebuilding their lives. Her husband has returned to work, and Josephine has returned to watching over the ordinary days of her busy household.