SAN JOSE, Calif. – Prayers of thanksgiving flooded the Tagalog mass at Holy Trinity Church in San Jose, as Filipinos were relieved to hear from family and friends that they are safe after Typhoon Ruby made its way through Central Philippines.
“Answered prayers kami, kasi alam ko hindi kami ni Mama Mary na hindi talaga kami na bina bayaan,” said Rene Clemente, who has family in Carigara.
“I was happy to hear they’re fine,” said Orville Tuca. “There’s no electricity, but they were able to use their cell phones through their battery in the car.”
The past 13 months have been difficult for many Filipinos whose families were still rebuilding from Typhoon Yolanda.
“They were telling me about the experience again,” said Glen Mesa. “Yung pag medjo lakas ng hangin sumisigaw mga pamankin ko, even my mom. But the prayers helped a lot. Some of our houses are not yet fixed and here comes a typhoon again, so I hope there’s no third typhoon so at least they will be able to fix it.”
These kababayans believe the early evacuation of residents, and the organization of relief goods, have made Typhoon Ruby less catastrophic than last year’s Typhoon Yolanda, where more than 6,000 died.
“My mom is working for the municipality of Telosa, so since Monday, the already had the operations,” said Kim Malate. “I guess they set up the team and prepared for the evacuation.”
While the worst of Ruby is believed to be over, these community members know that relatives and local community groups back home will need all the help they can get, including financial assistance.
Though the physical and structural damage may be smaller compared to years past, Filipinos with Visayan roots fear that a bulk of the damage is emotional, and the trauma that their family lives with during every disaster.