The Taytay township in the Rizal province east of Manila was worst affected by floods in 40 years, as the low level areas quickly filled with waist deep water.
It was nearing dusk and Mely Teodoro was in her house along with her six children, perched on their dinning table as water seeped in from the street. She had been waiting for the past one hour for her husband Nathaniel Teodoro, who had gone in search of a promised truck for them to escape to an evacuation center before the nightfall.
Memories of a storm three years ago, spurred them to escape before the Typhoon Parma strikes adding misery as incessant rains flooded the area. Parma was forecast to hit the east coast, packing sustained winds of up to 120 mph (195 kph) and gusts up to 140 mph (230 kph). The weather bureau fearing that it may develop into 'super typhoon', have asked all the residents of the low lying areas to move. The Government officials have threatened to forcefully evacuate the children leaving the adults to make their own decision.
Philippines, as a country gets battered by as many as 20 major storms in a year and the residents know that as long the military and the police are around, their houses are safe against looters, otherwise they have to stay back to safeguard it themselves.
Gloria, her fourteen year old daughter noticed that the water rose to an alarming level touching the window sill. Mely knew by instinct that she had to move fast and get to a higher ground before the water inundates the surrounding area making escape impossible. She made an instant decision to move to a hillock east of their house which is considered a safe place.
Taking a big risk, Mely stepped into the chill waters which was right upto her waist and as she took the first two steps, the water came up to her shoulder level, alarming her. Trying to keep all her children within her grasp, she made the mistake of turning round in circles and knew instantly that she was lost. Though she had been staying for more than fifteen years in the same house and knew the topography of the village like the back of her hand; the dark clouds, the incessant rains and the swift flowing water made her move in the opposite direction.
As the surging water kept rising, Mely shouted to her children who were swimming alongside her to turn back. Mely's shouting and contradictory instructions panicked her children and they all started crying.
"O Lord help me," Prayed Mely, clutching tightly her youngest two year old as she tried her best to keep her head above the water level.
The dark night was suddenly pierced by a beam of light and she heard the faint voice of Nathaniel calling her.
Seated safely in a boat, the shivering children laughed and one after another hugged their father, as he narrated that he was about to turn back in desperation having failed to locate them.
Nathaniel successfully brought a truck midway when he realized that a boat would be more helpful. Seeing the rising water he guessed correctly that Mely would be heading to the hillock and rushed there. But not finding them, made a turn to head back to their house but somehow made a mistake and turned towards the opposite direction.
Nathaniel wondered loudly, "If I had not made that turn in the opposite direction I would not have sighted you at all."
Mely smiled and said softly, "God made you take the wrong route on purpose, because I prayed."
Victor Jasti lives in India and is passionate about writing short stories based on the Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction and poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author, Ms. Christine Tricarico.
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