Marisol Ugay and one of her children at an evacuation center for flood victims. Photo by Elizabeth Tromans/CRS

Caritas is working quickly to help people suffering because of massive flooding in the Philippines. Elizabeth Tromans of Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas member based in the USA) is helping respond to the floods in metro Manila, and describes one woman’s story on the CRS blog:

Through the metal bars of a window in an elementary school now used as an evacuation center, Marisol Ugay, 29, holds a toddler and an infant in her lap and gives a reluctant smile as she explains, “I don’t normally look this old; it’s just the stress.”

For nearly two weeks, the monsoon rains haven’t stopped in metro Manila and surrounding areas. The torrential rains, which began on August 7, have affected 1.2 million people and forced 242,000 people out of their homes and into evacuation centers. The Philippine government reports a total of 614 evacuation centers throughout central Luzon. At its most severe, rain fell at a rate of 2 inches per hour, dumping half the normal August monsoon rain in just 24 hours.

On August 7th, Marisol was shocked at how heavily the rain was falling. As she watched out the window of her home, located along the river in her village of San Pedro in Bulucan, north of Manila, she worried about her two young children.

“I couldn’t afford to wait and see what would happen. I saw the rain pouring down and the river rising. I quickly grabbed my two babies, one in each arm, bundled what belongings I could carry on my head and left my home.”

Read more