Marie-Denise Dorvilier, 53 years old and a mother of nine, remembers Hurricane Matthew like a nightmare.

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“I heard the wind, and I went out of the house and started running. A metal wire strangled me and I fell to the ground. Despite all the metal sheets flying around, I rose up again and began running towards the school nearby,” she recalls of the horror.

 

“I have seven sons and two daughters. Together with my husband, there are nine of us who lived in this house that is now gone. Still, we thank God that we all survived the hurricane,” she says, smiling through tears.

Ever since that day they have been sleeping inside a school together with thirty more families in their village.

“We all try to live normally, but deep inside we know things are different now. We have been sleeping in a place that is not our home. School will start again in the coming week and we all have to move out,” she says.

Marie admits that she has been under so much stress since the hurricane. “Where can we stay? What can we eat?”

“I have been begging for food to feed my children,” she says, pointing at the boiling pot filled with sweet potatoes.

“I have asked these potatoes from other people so that my family can eat. Before [Hurricane] Matthew, my husband and I used to sell vegetables and crops in the market. Now, the ground is empty – nothing to sell or eat.”

ADRA continues to provide emergency aid to villages like Marie’s. Thousands of food packs, water purification sets and shelter kits have been distributed as early as the first week after Hurricane Matthew struck the southern department of this island nation.

“When you see other people helping, this gives me hope. I don’t have anything; I cannot be ungrateful,” she says, recalling of the food packs that she received a week ago and the shelter kits she will soon be receiving.

“I can only say thank you to ADRA for what they are doing for me and my family. Thank you very much, ADRA,” she adds.

 

Photo: Arjay Aralleno/ADRA Philippines