Deserie and her children inside their Islamic Relief tent

After typhoon Haiyan struck, all that remained of Deserie Stephin’s home were a few clothes and a shoe rack.

“That horrific night, we left our home and went to our neighbour’s home, as they have a big house,” recalled Deserie, a mother-of-two whom we met whilst distributing aid in Tuges town, on Botigues Island.

“I still remember all the people were running to reach safer places and shouting for help. It was horrific and a very cold chilling night I will never forget. Our children were frightened and they kept shouting all the night,” she told us, remembering how she struggled to keep Stephanie and Mark calm as typhoon Haiyan rolled overhead.

“We kept praying to God for our lives, and for a peaceful morning. Time was passing very slowly.”

As the storm moved on, the family were able to survey the damage. “Our one-room house was completely destroyed and we left nothing but a few clothes and a shoe rack.”

Left homeless, the family of four were forced to remain sheltering with their neighbours.

“We spent our days at our neighbors’ house as we had no other choice,” said Deserie, 26. “It gave me and my husband an odd feeling to be a burden on our neighbours.”

Islamic Relief provided the vulnerable family with a tent, giving them back their independence and allowing them their own space in which they can begin the enormous task of rebuilding their lives.

“It will take years to build a new house as our income is very limited, and sometimes my husband doesn’t find any work as he is a fisherman. I can’t express my gratitude about the help you provided to us.”

Deserie’s two children have now returned to school, where Islamic Relief has provided tarpaulin sheeting as a temporary measure to protect students from the scorching sun.