Typhoon Agaton Relief Operations
Photo: Flame Centre
(Published with parents' permission)
Everyone wants to make a difference. When we were kids, most of us dreamed of changing the world, helping people out in the best possible way we can. We, at Flame Centre, are realistic, yet idealistic to say that with little help, we can help people start building their lives. We. Believe that as we continue working in solidarity, our actions will become little drops that will create ripples in the community and in the future.
The Philippines was recently hit by a Tropical Storm Megi (Agaton). Several areas in Cebu and Leyte were badly affected and some were totally destroyed. According to the AHA Centre (ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance), there were 341 damaged homes and more than 96,000 persons displaced.
Flame Cares coordinated with the Local Government Unit of Barangay Tuburan, Cebu, Philippines to identify a community that was severely hit by the Typhoon. Tropical Storm Megi (Agaton) happened on April 13, 2022, and our team came to visit 4 days after the storm and witnessed damaged houses, fallen posts, trees, and families hoping to receive little help from anyone who will come to visit their community. You can see the pain and struggle in the eyes of every mother, waiting for their husband to come home hoping to bring food and water so that they can feed their starving children and somehow ease the pain for one day. It is sad to witness that whenever an unfamiliar vehicle comes, you can see their face lit with happiness and hope.
When we arrived in the area, people started to line up peacefully, unsure of whatever purpose we have in their community. Children are just running around playing under the heat of the sun and laughing - as if they are thinking that “everything will be okay”. We waited for the other vehicle to arrive and the people were just waiting patiently whispering to each other saying “this might be our lucky day”. As we unloaded the goods from the van, people came to help us settle the packs and water under the tree and went back to their lines. Children started running towards us merrily when they saw us unloading a bunch of toys, candies, and goods.
"You can really see the happiness in their eyes and in their smiles
– that alone is priceless."
As we started distributing the packs to each family, the crowd was filled with laughter and joy. “Thank you” are overflowing and children are very excited to receive their gifts too. One thing that touched me was children came to say: “Salamat kaayo ma’am sa inyong kaayo, gusto unta mi mo gakos ninyo pero basin mahugaw inyong gi-suot.”
"Thank you so much, ma’am for your kindness,
we wanted to give you a hug but
we are afraid to put stains on your clothes."
Aside from distributing water, food packs, and hygiene kits to 75 families, we also fed 50 children and had little games with them to somehow help them forget about the tragic things that happened to them during the storm.
Kindness will really give us joy that is worth remembering.
As one of the recipients said, “Usahay ang mga anghel walay paku, niabot lang sila gikan sa layong dapit nga naka t-shirt, karsones ug adunay bulawan nga kasing-kasing.”
"Sometimes angels doesn’t have wings, they will just arrive from a distant wearing T-shirt, jeans and a gold heart.”
- Andrea R. Pailago
Learning Innovator, The Flame Centre