NAVOTAS CITY — It was a windy Sunday evening last July 11. Fifty-year-old Milagros Ramos and her husband were having their usual talk in their dining room when, in a shattering life-turning event, the lifeless dark sky was quickly engulfed in a searing blaze.
Flames licked through a maze of cement and wood, and before the night was over, possessions were reduced to ashes and families were left homeless.
Milagros and her family were very upset since her son’s house had just finished renovation a week before the fire. Now, every cent they spent has literally gone into flames. They didn’t have the chance to save anything as the fire spread out fast and strong.
On July 14, as a quick response to the overpowering need for food and clothes, Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines (OB) sent a team to distribute goods to affected families who took shelter in the North Bay Boulevard covered court.
In partnership with Christian Challenge Church, 200 families were fed with freshly-cooked porridge. Milagros and her family were ecstatic to receive a casserole full of porridge.
“We haven’t eaten lunch yet. We are so happy. You truly helped us a lot!” Milagros said, a bright smile beaming from her face.
OB also gave out clothes and packs of soy-rice casserole from Kids Against Hunger. That afternoon, 100 more children were also fed with porridge.
In spite of the tragedy, it was a breath of fresh air to see bright smiles filling the covered court as people huddled together and had fun trying on the clothes and shoes they received.
Family Survives Fire and Basyang
For Mamerto Muyco’s family, it was a fight for survival.
Mamerto’s home for more than a decade was torched by the fire, including their possessions. They weren’t able to salvage anything—only their lives. His family of seven members, together with the other victims, took shelter in the North Bay Boulevard covered court.
Fate taking a twisted turn, two nights after the devastating fire, typhoon Basyang made landfall and directly hit Metro Manila. The homeless fire victims were left unshielded from howling winds and lashing rains.
When OB came to Navotas the day after the typhoon, they spotted Mang Mamerto lying on a bamboo bed, weary and in dire need of sleep. The night before, he and his 12-year-old son took shelter in a makeshift tent they set up on the exact same spot where their house once was to keep an eye over the newly arrived re-construction materials they loaned. When Basyang tore through Manila, their only cover was a one-piece canvas. They slept fitfully that night, drenched, shivering, and lives at stake.
“I thought, we may not have died from the fire, but we would definitely be killed by that dangling roof,” Mang Mamerto said, pointing at the overhanging galvanized iron sheet.
“But we were determined to stay because the re-construction materials will certainly be stolen. My wife and four other children slept at the covered court.”
That morning, Operation Blessing fed hungry families with nutrient-enriched porridge, a blessing to those like Mang Mamerto who just went through a rough night.
“Thank you very much for the porridge,” he said smiling. “We haven’t eaten anything yet because we have no pot. It got burned in the fire. So the porridge was our first meal for the day. It was very delicious, too!”
Mang Mamerto was also given a bag of clothes and slippers for his family, and a pack of rice mix from Kids Against Hunger.
But besides the material goods, he was given something more valuable than clothes and food. That day, Mamerto was prayed for by an OB staff. His weary face brightened and his slump shoulders straightened as he found renewed hope and peace from God that his family will not be forsaken.
“Thank you for your support. You have truly helped us a lot.”
YOU CAN TURN TRAGEDIES INTO HOPE
In spite of life’s harsh difficulties, victims of disasters can still find peace in God’s presence. With your help and donation to Operation Blessing’s relief fund, love and hope can be shared to affected families and individuals. Call OB at (02) 813-2163 now.
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