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. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.