Twin typhoons Ketsana and Parma pummeled the Philippines and surrounding regions last week, taking more than 250 lives in Metro Manila and bringing the worst floods in 40 years to the capital. When Ketsana struck, Normi Son—an evangelical who works for a Montessori school downtown—found herself separated from her two children, ages 8 and 14. Below is her first-hand account of the floods that threatened to split her family in two.

At about 11 a.m. in my office at Cainta City, Metro Manila, I received a text message from my nephew: "Aunt, you won't believe [this], but the river behind our house overflowed and the streets are now submerged into 2-meter-deep floodwater. Our neighbor's fence has collapsed and their house is flooded. A landslide had occurred blocking the only road that would lead us to safety. Do not attempt to come. The roads are impassable."

I phoned home to find out how my children were. They told me the river was still rising and that the walls behind our house could crumble anytime. My home was built on a piece of land 6 meters from Antipolo River. I felt numb at the thought of my children being stranded at home by themselves. I went to a corner and poured out my heart to God. "Please stop the rain now." I kept uttering these words throughout the day, but the rain grew heavier. I wondered if God was listening.

Meanwhile, a member of my staff said that her husband had to swim to escape their submerged house. She said that flooding had started around our office. I looked out the window and saw dirty water rising up. Within a few minutes, it turned into a brown river raging in every direction; it engulfed plants, vehicles, bungalow houses, and small trees.

More complications hit us as the day wore on. The electricity was cut off by noon. Everyone on staff failed trying to go home by foot. I spent the entire afternoon with three of them, helping about 50 children and adults who had arrived at our office building. By nightfall, I completely lost contact with my children.

At 2 in the morning, a staff member told us that hundreds of cars, vans, and small trucks were floating everywhere, and that hundreds of people were stranded on train stations and overpasses. He had swum in the flooding waters, hoping to buy a can of milk for his infant daughter who was in an evacuation center about four kilometers away. But stores and supermarkets were also submerged.

Then we heard a voice cry "Fire!" We rushed to the window to see thick smoke coming from the chemical factory next door. We called two fire departments to no avail—their fire trucks had not escaped the floodwater.

We descended the stairs of our office building, and, with the aid of a rope tied between our building and another across the street, we braved the neck-deep water to climb to safety in a nearby mall. We found hundreds standing and lying down on higher floors, anxiously waiting to leave. Not until about 10 a.m. Sunday did the flood subside enough for us to start making our way home. As I walked, I still felt helpless—and anxious for my children—as I passed large areas that were still severely flooded.

I was hungry, weary, and frankly traumatized when I arrived home, but I was surprised to see my children relaxed, cleaning and drying wet books and clothes. The flood did not inundate the area around our home, so they weren't in as much danger as my imagination had suggested. For a moment, I just stared at them with unbelief, feeling thankful that they were safe, and that despite my doubts, they had been under God's protection the whole time.