I want to share with you a miraculous story of survival.
Just hours before Typhoon Haiyan crashed into tiny Kinatarcan Island in the Philippines, 24-year-old Hazel was giving birth at the local health center. When the storm descended she knew they were in danger. She bravely forced herself from her hospital bed and ran with her newborn in her arms.
She found shelter in a house, but winds ripped the roof off as she huddled in a corner, clutching her baby. At times, she was certain they wouldn’t survive. After the storm, her husband and their 3-year-old daughter were overcome with relief when they found Hazel and the baby alive.
But the health center, their neighbors' homes, and their own home were devastated beyond recognition. Hazel remembers "when we saw it, we cried and cried.” Before the storm, her husband was a fisherman, like most people on the island. Now, even that little income is gone — because the boats were destroyed. With nowhere to go and no income, so many families, including Hazel's, were forced to live among the rubble.
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When Mercy Corps teams responded with lifesaving food packages and basic relief supplies, it was the first hopeful moment that Hazel had experienced in a long time. She said “my baby is very precious and this helps my baby” — nicknamed Baby Yolee after the storm (known locally as "Yolanda").