Today I met a family whose story of Typhoon Haiyan broke my heart. Nenita Inamarga 63 and her daughter in law Jeniffer Inamarga 35 described the horror that devastated their farm on the afternoon of November 8 and has left them scared and without hope ever since.
“We heard on the radio that the typhoon was coming but they predicted it would be signal one (the lowest on the Philippines ranking category),” Jeniffer said. “But then around midnight on the eighth, it was upgraded to signal 4 (the strongest).”
For the Inamargas, November 8 started out beautifully: bright blue skies overhead with soft breezes blowing through their family farm. The Inamarga family has farmed here for fifteen years and weathered serious typhoons in 2007 and 1985. They told me they were worried, but the morning gave no indication of what was to come.
Life has not always been easy for this family of six, particularly since Nenita’s husband became bedridden since suffering a stroke two years ago. But, they have always managed and even done well as they grew their family business, raising chickens for meat and eggs, pigs and growing coconut trees.
The rains came at 11am in the morning, but it was only once the ferocious winds began ripping through their farm at 1 pm that they realised they were in trouble.
“This was like nothing I have lived through before,” said Nenita. As this proud, graceful and gentle lady struggled to keep her composure the tears welled up in her eyes. “I have been so worried since that day. How will my family survive?” she asked.
When they typhoon’s full strength hit the Inamarga farm, it killed all of their pigs and half of the family’s chickens. As the windows of their homes rattled wildly, theratening at any moment to shatter and the gates to their property banged open and shut, the family dogs whined in fear and sought shelter under the beds. One large coop was picked up and plunged into a pond, drowning six hundred birds. In a single afternoon, the family income and livelihood was almost entirely wiped out.
The Inamarga family's ordeal lasted seven hours. They huddled together in the family home that lost part of its roof, but miraculously remained standing as trees and animals shelters crashed all around them.
Jeniffer told me she had given up hope. “We thought the world forgot about us already,” she said. “We have nothing without our animals,” she added. Nenita said she has held in her tears to not show how worried she is for the family. “I did not want my children and my two grandchildren to see me cry.”
This family, and so many others like them struggle to recover and survive but they can’t do it without our help. “When you arrived to help us, it was like a miracle,” Nenita said. “Now, I can let my tears come because I know help is here.”
We’re here to help families like the Inamargas by helping their animals. And with your continued support, we we can ensure their animals survive in the long term.
Dr. Juan Carlos Murillo and Gerardo Huertas treat a dog at a mobile veterinary clinic we set up in Aklan Province, near the Inamarga family farm.
Dr. Juan Carlos Murillo and Cinthya Diaz prepare to treat a rooster on December 2, 2013. Malaison Island, Philippines.
By working with individual farmers, local veterinarians and the government, we can deliver animal protection here, at this most critical time, as we do every day around the world.