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33-year-old Marezmer Marquez lives with her husband and three children, including one-year-old Marco. When Typhoon Bopha hit in December 2012, their home was severely damaged in Compostela Valley. To protect her children, Marezmer placed her baby in the washing machine and her nine-year-old girl in the refrigerator, knowing that the storm had cut the power hours before. As a vulnerable mother with a three-month-old child, she was chosen as one of the first beneficiaries by the ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) that first met her last year. She received her tent on 24 December.
Nine months on, a ShelterBox Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E) team returned in August.
‘The point of our trip is to collate information to improve ShelterBox’s overall response by speaking to beneficiaries and collecting their feedback, interviewing in-country partners and assessing the conditions of the tents in the flood-hit area,’ said ShelterBox Operations M & E Coordinator Dr. Alison Ashlin.
‘We were delighted to meet Marezmer and Marco to talk to them about their experience of living in a ShelterBox tent.’
Before the typhoon struck Marezmer was a bookkeeper and Marco a public servant. As the office in which they worked was destroyed they have now both lost their livelihoods, leaving the family with no means to rebuild their home. The family still remain in their tent.
‘It was another emotional experience for me speaking to Marezmer, learning what she and her family had been through, and the challenges they still face for the future,’ said Maribeth Lloyds, ShelterBox Corporate Fundraising Manager who interviewed the family.
‘It’s incredibly touching to meet such a resilient family and it makes me realise just how important it is to continue our fundraising efforts so that we can continue to help families like this.’
Next to Marezmer lives 56-year-old Virginata with her husband, two sons and daughter-in-law. Virginata has planted flowers all around her ShelterBox tent and she said, after the typhoon, they were forced to sleep in a concrete water tank next to their damage home.
‘It’s hard to imagine five people sleeping in such cramped conditions,’ added Maribeth.
Through discussions with partner agencies, the M & E team learnt that families living in in tents in Compostela Valley region are a priority for resettlement into more permanent shelter solutions. Until then, they are thankful for their tents.