Philippines Flooding: 'The Water Was Up to My Neck'

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MANILLA -- The Philippines' capital is underwater as torrential rains brought massive flooding to Manila this week.

Government offices, banks, schools, and shops throughout the city of 12 million are closed. Tens of thousands have found shelter in more than 200 evacuation centers.

Heavy flooding paralyzed much of Manila and the surrounding provinces. Downpours induced by Typhoon Trami submerged 60 percent of the capital region, turning even major highways into rivers.

Government and private offices were closed, including the U.S. embassy.

More than 600,000 people have been affected by the disaster. One-third of them fled to evacuation centers, but some decided to stay in their flooded homes.

Despite the danger of being trapped by the floodwater, many residents chose to stay in their houses for fear of looting. Many also aren't comfortable in the cramped quarters at evacuation centers.

But for Lorina Cabanez and her one-year-old son, a space in the corner of a school gym provided sufficient refuge.

"It was my birthday yesterday," Cabanez told CBN News. "I am just so sad with our situation. But we had to flee our house because the water was already up to my neck," she explained. "It's my wish that this flooding will never happen again, not only for me but for all of us who are now suffering."

The school that's been converted to an evacuation center is housing 200 families. Among them are beneficiaries of CBN's Bless a Child Program.

Five-year-old Angel is one of these children. She was malnourished, weighing only 9 kilos (about 20 pounds) before joining the feeding program. After three months, she weighs 14 kilos (nearly 31 pounds).

Her grandmother, Natividad Belleza, said she is thankful because Angel is now strong enough to handle the current situation.

She's also happy the CBN disaster relief team brought food, mats, and blankets for them and their neighbors.

"First of all, I thank God and I thank people like you who come to comfort us and help us," Belleza told CBN News. "It really means a lot because of all the hardships we face."

Belleza said she's also grateful to her pastor, Teresa Pastera, who has partnered with CBN not only to meet the spiritual needs of their community, but their physical needs as well.

"It's during this time of calamity that the people are more open to the gospel and they seek God's help," Pastor Pastera, with Redeemed Family Foursquare Gospel Church, said.

"And this is why I really praise God for CBN because you are God's instrument for our church to be able to reach out to the people here. We are really blessed! Thank you so much!" she added.

CBN has sent several disaster relief teams to flood-stricken areas. Besides bringing blankets, mats, and food, the teams will also provide medical assistance and job training to help people recover from the flooding.

"Thank you very much CBN for your help. I feel much better," Cabinez said. "The mat and the blanket are a big help to us because we have something to sleep on, and the blankets keep us warm. I really hope you can help more people in need."

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Lucille Talusan

Lucille Talusan

CBN News

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