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Marina's story: we've lost everything

'We worked so hard to make something of ourselves and now it’s all gone.' For Marina Acaylan, and her husband Kao, Typhoon Haiyan didn’t just destroy their home and belongings – it also destroyed their way of life.

The couple are among more than 5 million people who face an uncertain future after their livelihoods were swept away by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Marina Acaylan and her husband lost their home and all their belongings during Typhoon Haiyan
Marina stands in front of what is left of the local market in Batad, Iloilo

Home and jobs destroyed

Marina and her husband Kao live in a village on the north-east coast of Iloilo Island. They're still coming to terms with the sudden and brutal impact of the typhoon.

Marina used to make rice cakes to sell at the local market. Her husband helped to haul in the fish from the boats. But both the market and the village fleet of fishing boats were destroyed in the storm.

  • When I saw our house was gone I cried and cried. Everything we relied on was washed away’

‘My cooking pots, that I owned myself, were washed away, and the market too. I had bought the cooking pots and had paid little by little for them over a year or so, and they belonged all to me.

'I need them to make a living, what can I do now?’ she cries. ‘I went looking for them in the water and managed to rescue one. I’m still searching the shoreline every day.’

Evacuation saved lives

The couple’s mud and bamboo house, where they had lived for 32 years, didn’t last long in the powerful winds. All that remains is the concrete slab it stood on.

They survived because they were evacuated to the local day care centre.

‘I’m used to storms and waves, but I’d never seen anything like this before. The wind was so strong, and I was really scared. The waves swept everything away. All our belongings were gone. I now have to wash my clothes on the rocks a lot, because I only have one set of clothes to wear.’

Emergency supplies from Christan Aid

Marina, who has received emergency food packs (including rice, cooking oil and canned meat) and soap and detergent from a Christian Aid partner, has now found some work shelling kernels of corn. She’s paid 50 cents per kilo.

  • We’ve worked so hard to try and make something of ourselves, and now it’s all gone’

‘At least I have a little money in my pocket. But we can’t go back to how we were – our house and belongings and way of life are all gone.’

Marina and Kao want to rebuild their lives – but at the moment they can’t see how that will happen.
‘Over the years we’ve worked so hard to try and make something of ourselves, and now it’s all gone.

'We’re now sleeping in a makeshift shelter in the public toilet block. I just want my cooking pots back so that I can make and sell my rice cakes again.'

Rebuilding lives

Donate now In the coming months, Christian Aid partners will be supporting people like Marina and Kao to rebuild their lives. Please donate today to help us reach people left homeless, hungry and afraid.



Find out more

How our partners helped poor urban communities in Manila rebuild their lives and livelihoods in the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana.

Independent blog: more about Marina's community and the damage from Typhoon Haiyan



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