Renato: back at home and back to work
Renato, his wife, and their six children are finally back at home in their newly-repaired house. It has been over one year since typhoon Haiyan, one of the most severe typhoons in history, swept across the Philippines killing almost 8,000 people and destroying many homes, including Renato’s. His family is one of 200 households to have benefited from a project implemented by Handicap International in the province of Leyte, which aims to help with the reconstruction process. Thanks to Handicap International, the head of the household has been able to return to work.
Renato, his wife and three of their six children in their newly repaired home. The Philippines. | © Handicap International
The night before the typhoon in November 2013, Renato and his family had to flee their neighbourhood to find shelter in a less dangerous area. Once the storm was over it took them four days, rather than the usual half day, to return home because the river was too high to cross. "Thank goodness we were evacuated because our house had been entirely destroyed and trees had fallen all around it," says Renato. The family then had to build themselves a makeshift shelter.
Not only did Renato lose his home in the typhoon but he also lost all the equipment he needed to work as a masseur, the only source of income for his large family. During the months following the disaster the family had no income, and was dependent on the aid provided by humanitarian organisations. This meant Renato was also eligible to receive assistance from another Handicap International project, which helps provide a source of income for the poorest families whose livelihoods were destroyed by the typhoon. The financial assistance provided by the organisation allowed him to purchase equipment and re-establish his massage business.
To help with the issue of accommodation, Handicap International first provided the family with emergency supplies in the form of a tent, a hygiene kit and a cooking kit. A few months later, Renato started to rebuild his house using the means at his disposal. It was at this point that Handicap International gave him a financial allowance to buy the materials he needed to finish repairing his house.
The father of six was also given a white stick, which allowed him to get about more easily despite his visual impairment. "We are delighted with our new home; our lives are much more comfortable now," explains Renato. "We have proper walls, instead of a tarpaulin, and a roof over our heads. We don’t have to worry about trees falling on us anymore!"