Hannah Came Back to Life

Jeff Pessina and Mike Erickson were visiting Tacloban City to see how the recovery operations were doing. Just two years earlier typhoon Yolanda -one of the strongest typhoons in recorded history- had leveled this impoverished city. Not only was the city damaged beyond belief; some fifteen thousand lives were tragically lost in only a couple of hours.

After the storm, Frontline responded with several truckloads of emergency relief goods, medical missions, and feeding programs. We sent several construction teams to build or rebuild homes for people. Every time we visited the area, the scope of the damage was stunning and heartbreaking.

Two years after the storm many were still living in temporary shelters, but we were relieved to see the city mostly back on track. Businesses had reopened, and most people had been able to avail of housing structures through NGO’s and government funding programs. Structural repairs was actually the simple part; the not so simple part was the hearts and minds of those who suffered so much loss of life. We heard stories of fathers who lost entire families; mothers who lost their children; young people who were left behind as lone survivors. These people continue trying to process why this tragedy happened. “Why here? Why to us?” Many wonder and ask if it was God’s judgement on them. Many deal with survivor guilt, or not having saved their loved ones. The trauma of it all runs deep, and weighs heavy on those hit the hardest.

img-12The woman pictured here with her youngest daughter (Hannah), lost her father, and nearly lost all her children and own life as well. When the ocean surge came in it wiped out their house and swept everyone away. She and her sister grabbed the children and fought to swim and stay afloat in raging water 30 feet deep. After several minutes, little Hannah expired, and drowned in her mothers arms. “She was purple, and bloated from drinking so much water. I knew it was too late. We found a wooden plank and placed her on top of it, hoping to have a proper burial if we survived ourselves. We continued to fight for our own lives. Then a few minutes later, Hannah awoke and cried out ‘Mama!'” Though she and her husband “Rocky” lost everything they owned, they are grateful today that they survived.  Together they minister to the needs of others, feeding children, and teaching them God’s Word.

img-13img-14Brother Rocky and his wife continue serving the children conducting bible teaching and feeding programs. Please say a prayer for the people of Tacloban City, and for the millions across this entire region still recovering from such a brutal storm. The greatest need now is that they might recover and be healed emotionally and spiritually.