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“Faith Saved Us” – says Survivors of Deadly Davao Storm

Many survivors of the storm claim sheer faith saved their lives.

At the height of the storm in the small hours of June 28, Gregorio Mascarino, 67, was convinced he and nine other members of his household were going to die as they sat on the roof of their home while raging flood waters swept around them.

Although not a devout Catholic, Mascarino said he prayed that at least one of them would be saved, as he looked at his three grandchildren who were pale and crying.

After their ordeal, Mascarino discovered a two-and-a-half-foot statue of the Virgin Mary in front of what remained of his house.

Mascarino has been living in Pangi, Matina district, for the past 40 years. He said this week’s storm was his worst experience.

Jones Martinez, meanwhile, survived with his wife and two children, but was mourning the loss of three children and a woman he tried to save.

“I knew no one but God could save us then,” Martinez said in a chapel being used as a temporary clinic for volunteer medical personnel.

Jimmy Dureza, a local leader, said the flood was an “act of God.”

Francis Morales, secretary general of Panalipdan, however, had a very different explanation.

“Years of environmental plunder through logging, large-scale and open-pit mining, land use conversion, to name a few, has brought us an environmental crisis,” he said.

Local authorities have declared Davao City a disaster area following a storm this week which claimed 37 lives.

Mayor Inday Sara Duterte said at least 40 million pesos (US$926,000) worth of damage was caused by the storm that swept across Mindanao on Tuesday.

Mindanao-based environmental network Panalipdan (Defend) today appealed for relief supplies for flood victims. (from UCANEWS)