By: Jennifer P. Rendon
Thirty-six-year old Andrea de Asis, a native of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo was supposed to go back to Kuwait on Dec 26, 2019.
But Andrea, an overseas household worker, was forced to fly home to Iloilo to bury her husband Roel, 41, and their children Meme, 15, and Rhian, 3, who died when Typhoon Ursula hit the town of Batad, Iloilo on Christmas Day.
The de Asis family lives in Batad, Roel’s hometown.
Andrea was in Manila and was waiting for her flight when she received the news.
In between tears, Andrea asked relatives what transpired that led to her family’s demise.
The body of Roel, Meme, and Rhian were found hours after they were swept by flash flood at Barangay Pasayan, Batad.
The victims and several relatives were evacuating the area when the flood suddenly surged.
The couple’s 10-year-old child Moymoy remains missing as of this writing.
The bodies of Roel’s nephew and niece, alias Dagul, 12, and alias Angga, 13, were later retrieved.
Andrea and Roel, who worked as a security guard, have five children.
Roel, along with three kids, stayed in Batad following the death of his father on Dec. 12.
“This is so painful. In just a single instance, my husband and two children are all gone,” she said in vernacular.
Andrea is still hoping that Moymoy may have survived the disaster. She recalled how sweet her husband and children were to her.
“That I would surely miss,” she said.
Andrea recalled that she and her husband greeted each other on Christmas Eve.
Alma de Asis, Roel’s sister, and a nephew identified as Boots, survived the flood. Her daughter Angga and nephew Dagul weren’t as lucky.
Alma recounted that she held on to a madre de cacao tree as typhoon Ursula poured rains and pummelled the town with strong winds.
She held on to the tree for five hours until a search and rescue team spotted her.
She said they were on their way to the evacuation center around 2 a.m. Wednesday when they got swept by the flash flood.
“It was sudden. When we went out of the house, there was raging water and I saw them being swept away,” she said.
Alma said she prayed incessantly until help arrived at past 6:00 a.m. of Christmas Day.
Relatives threw ropes at her until a nephew was able to retrieve her from the tree.
Boots, it was gathered, held on to a bamboo for safety.
But with several of their relatives who perished, it was a bittersweet survival for both Alma and Boots.