Vivencia Escana was one of the many who found her home destroyed by the violent storm.

The 41-year-old widow was living in Sitio Kampindoy, in Bantayan Island, Cebu, with her four children Kim, 13, Tony Rose, 12, Kyla, 10, and Aiza, 6. Years ago, they had decided to make the area home as they could find employment in construction and fishing. Then after her husband died, Vivencia found work looking at the community water system. She earned 1800 Philippine peso (around £25) a month working part time. It was enough to send her children to school.

The night Haiyan came, it was 9.50pm and she was home with her children listening to the whistling wind and unable to sleep. Her daughter came in to see her, scared by the noise. They waited, listening as the winds got stronger until a sudden blast pushed against her light bamboo home and in that moment destroyed it completely.

“I thought it was the start and end of the world,” said Vivencia.


Her family somehow survived the night, and when it became light the following morning, she picked her way through their destroyed home, finding what she could to make a tent that protected them from the weather. For a month after Haiyan – which in The Philippines was called Yolanda – devastated their home, it gave them shelter until the rains came and water poured through the fabric.

She would have struggled to survive without the food and safe drinking water that was handed out in emergency aid. Then in February, she spoke to staff from Islamic Relief about a shelter, and by June she had a new house.

A new start

“I thank God for such a gift after Yolanda, and I thank Islamic Relief for the beautiful, secure and strong shelter,” she said.

Her new home is strong enough to give Vivencia confidence that it will withstand any storms in the future. She has started to rebuild her life, returning to her job with the water system, and has taken on extra work crushing gravel and doing laundry. She is determined to build an even better life for her children.

Islamic Relief is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee and The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Support our work responding to the world’s disasters by donating today.