A heart-stopping earthquake in Southern Philippines

by Shirley “Lei” Kimmayong, Communications Manager, World Vision Philippines

My experience was heart-stopping, and I also learned that the earthquake disrupted the lives of my workmates as well as some community partners.

“I was so nervous yesterday, my heart was really beating so fast. I cannot explain. I thought that was my end. There were so many people running,” shared Nilda Masibay. She was inside the mall in General Santos (GenSan) City in Mindanao when the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, was later downgraded to magnitude 6.8 by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

The Abaca products on her booth like bags, wall decor, and hats that they made in their community were damaged. It was the second day of the fair, and it was supposed to run until November 21.

World Vision community partner Nilda at their mall booth, hours before the 6.8 magnitude quake.

She shared, “I was so, so afraid. I really thought I was going to die. All I could think about was my children. So, I prayed that hopefully, the building would stop shaking because there were a lot of people inside.” Nilda was able to go out of the mall when she no longer felt any tremors.

Meanwhile. my colleague Beth was in the middle of an important online meeting when she suddenly felt like falling from her chair.

“My head was spinning, it took a few seconds to realize, it was an earthquake. I ran out of the house, but I was still feeling dizzy. It was the strongest quake  I have experienced so far,” she said.

A day after the quake. Nilda and her team try to retrieve whatever products they can get.

She then went to check on her colleagues in Mindanao, their status and location. Beth was able to breathe easier when all the World Vision staff were safe and accounted for. She also worked with partners to monitor the situation of the children in the communities where the organization is working.

Erlinda, another staff in Mindanao, was preparing her liquidations at home when the earthquake happened.

“I was busy working on my laptop, when I felt the quake. I immediately stood up and hugged my 10-year-old son who was afraid, he was shaking,” she said.

As she was focused on her son, she did not notice her laptop was falling from the table. “My laptop was slowly falling off from the stand. Good thing my son saw it, so he was able to catch it.”

A day after the earthquake happened, my colleagues and community partners are still feeling the shock of what happened. 

In photo: Inside the house of one of World Vision’s staff in GenSan

I am just grateful that we were able to survive the heart-stopping earthquake that hit the southern Philippines. I am still hoping that the children and their families in the communities that we serve across Mindanao are all safe as World Vision is currently monitoring the impact of the earthquake.

World Vision has been operating in the Philippines for 65 years and is the Civil Society Organization’s representative to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. 

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