When disaster strikes, it is easy to see those affected as victims in need. At Mercy Relief, we witness something beyond that. We see people who help one another to rise undefeated, whose tenacity to survive, fight back, and grow defines the indomitable human spirit.
Mercy Relief supports this spirit and believes that empowered communities can change their destinies.
We are honoured to work across Asia alongside survivors, whose courage and determination to protect and restore their communities and ways of life motivate our humanitarian work around the region. Meet the people who inspire us – our survivors, the survivors.
“Life was so hard after typhoon Rolly. For a time, we were dependent on relief goods, that is why we are very thankful to CDRC#, TABI^, and Mercy Relief. Our income was not enough to buy food and
materials to fix our house at the same time. Because of the relief goods and the tent you (donors) gave us, we were able to save some money to buy materials to fix our house,” said Irene Bengoa, 29, a victim of Super Typhoon Rolly, known internationally as Typhoon Goni, which hit the Philippines on 1 November 2020. Irene was a beneficiary of the relief project executed by CDRC, TABI and Mercy Relief.
“A lot of help came to us after the typhoon. But we know that we have to learn to stand up on our own. Since we cannot afford to hire workers to build our house, my husband and I built it with our own hands. Our kitchen is not yet fixed, but it’s ok. My husband and I will work on it. It’s not easy, but our lives will go on.”
On 7 December 2016, more than 90,000 people suffered when an earthquake of 6.5 magnitude hit Aceh Province, Indonesia, destroying thousands of homes and buildings, and affecting livelihoods. Mercy Relief was one of the humanitarian aid groups that came forward to provide immediate response and relief to survivors of the disaster, providing vulnerable groups with meals, basic healthcare and distributing mosquito nets to affected villages.
Using funds which were generously donated by individuals and corporations, Mercy Relief was able to continue improving the lives of affected communities following the relief mission. Several recovery and sustainable development projects were executed to rebuild the lives of survivors, and empower them to restore their health and livelihoods. Proper sanitation facilities and resources were introduced in villages, while those in disaster-prone areas were equipped with skills to mitigate and manage risks arising from disasters. To increase the resilience of communities to socio-economic impacts, disaster risk reduction activities were conducted to increase citizens’ disaster preparedness and improve their financial status.
Being the sole breadwinner in her family did not stop Suryati, a survivor, from learning new skills to help her community in times of emergencies. She said: “The medical first aid training was very helpful as I was taught how to better care for my loved ones.”
Teresita Pielago, 70 years old, is a senior citizen living with her children and grandchildren. They
live in Barangay Cawayan 1, Quezon Province, Philippines. Prior to October 2020. Teresita owned
chickens, pigs and other crops. However, Typhoons Quinta and Rolly, in October and November 2020 respectively, wiped out her source of income and left her house in poor condition.
Teresita, who was accompanied by her grandchild who carried the food packs received during the relief distribution, is very thankful for the assistance she received, saying that it would help meet their needs for the next 7 days. Teresita is one of the beneficiaries who received food packs in the emergency response assistance to communities affected by Typhoon Rolly in Barangay Cawayan 1, Quezon. Beneficiaries of the project are mostly elderly, single parents, farmers and fisher folks who are heavily affected by the typhoon.
On 25 April and 12 May 2015, Nepal was struck by 2 devastating earthquakes, causing unprecedented damage to the country and its people. More than 8.1 million people suffered as a result, while 600,000 homes were destroyed by the earthquakes. Mercy Relief’s 28 relief distribution operations was able to benefit 20,000 survivors, providing them with basic necessities like hygiene kits containing toothbrush, toothpaste, soap; food items like rice, dhal and potatoes; and non-food items such as blankets, tarpaulins and buckets.
Shortly after, temporary classrooms were constructed to provide children access to education and create a safe space for students to be at while their homes were being rebuilt. School packs and free meals were also distributed to help students tide through the difficult period. Because of the support from donors, Mercy Relief was able to erect transitional shelters to protect families from the elements while their homes were being rebuilt, as well as equipped media personnel of a radio station in Nepal with knowledge to adequately disseminate information to listeners and the public in the event of a natural disaster.
Despite evacuating to her brother’s house before Super Typhoon Rolly – the strongest typhoon in the world in 2020, also known as Typhoon Goni – struck, Melody Tajumata was unable to escape the impact of the typhoon as the strong winds destroyed her brother’s house too. She subsequently sought refuge in another relative’s house but found conditions to be less than ideal due to insufficient rooms and overcrowding in the house. Melody, 39, accompanied by her fisherman husband and one child, eventually made the difficult decision to return to their unrepaired house.
Organised by CDRC# and TABI^ in partnership with Mercy Relief, a relief delivery operation to Asgad was arranged to distribute tents and food such as rice, canned food, mung beans and cooking oil.
“Life was so hard after typhoon Rolly. We are very thankful to CDRC, TABI, and Mercy Relief. Because of the relief goods you gave us, we were able to eat for two weeks,” Melody said.
Mdm Bakiyam (62) lost her husband in the 2015 South India Floods which persisted through November and December 2015 and affected more than 300,000 lives. In addition to her tragic loss, Mdm Bakiyam encountered more struggles as pools of stagnant water surrounded her home in the slums of Kulathumedu. The accumulated debris was a health threat to residents as it caused pollution in the water-logged areas.
With the help of sponsors and donors, Mercy Relief was able to help Mdm Bakiyam and 620 other households in its relief distribution operations. Several projects to improve the livelihoods of the community in Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu, as well as to manage and reduce the risk of disasters through enhanced infrastructure and increased preparedness.