A parent’s worst fear

Salvador arrived in the Philippines from Dubai last August to enjoy his time with his family especially his three children. Two months after, he has to bury one of them.

“I can still hear him calling me, asking me to save him,” he laments.

Dave, Salvador’s eldest son, became one of the casualties of Typhoon Goni.

“We were ready to evacuate. My youngest went with his grandparents while my two older sons, Dave and Dion, stayed with me to prepare our food supply. That was 6 in the morning,” Salvador recalls.

Just when the father and his two sons were ready to leave the house at 7:30, a devastating flashflood and mudflow hit the three of them.

“The flooding with lahar was too strong, I couldn’t fight my way through. Things happened so fast. Everything suddenly went dark. I couldn’t hear or see my children. I kept shouting their names, begging them to respond if they hear me.”

Salvador tried to stay calm and was able to grasp a rope and tied himself on a tree.

The pressure of the flood and mudflow pounded his body while he was attached to a tree but he held on – hoping for a sign of his children.

Then he heard a voice calling his name, “Papa! Papa!” It was Dave. Salvador tried to look at the direction where the voice was coming from but he didn’t see his son. It was the last time he heard Dave’s voice.

Everything was blurry after that. When Salvador regained his senses, he was already rescued and reunited with Dion.

Salvador learned that Dion was able to also hold on to a tree. Dave was with him but he couldn’t fight both the flash flood and the mudflow and he lost his grip. They later found his lifeless body.

A good son and a good brother

“I will remember Dave for his kindness to us, his parents. His siblings look up to him, that’s why I know, that even if his mother and I were not always there for them physically, he grew up to be a good man.” Salvador’s wife is also working in Dubai.

Three days before the typhoon, Dave got his high school diploma and his academic excellence certificate and gave them to Salvador as a token of gratitude for his parents’ sacrifice. Salvador was very proud of his son at that moment. He will always be.

“I do not know where to start. All our things were buried under big rocks and mud,” Salvador says while he ponders about his family’s situation. “But nothing is more painful than losing my son.” The bereaved family currently stays at the evacuation center along with other families whose houses were submerged with mud.

In the wake of Typhoon Goni, towns of Camalig, Daraga, and Guinobatan in Albay province have been severely affected by laharflow burying many houses with rocks, boulders and mud, forcing residents to evacuate to temporary shelters. World Vision looks into providing assistance to evacuees with food, clean drinking water, hygiene kits, shelter repair assistance and psychosocial support to help children cope from the disaster.

To know more or help the current emergency response to reach more families, visit https://wvph.co/rollyph