Almost seven days after a storm besieged her city and turned her world upside down, Marie Gloria Troyo sat and recalled how she had saved the lives of her brother and sister – pushing them on to the rafters of a school room and clinging tightly to them for six hours as the winds raged and the sky turned black.
As waters rose around them, she was convinced their time had come, that they were all to die. She was certain her hands would become too cold in the rain for them to be of any use to her. And yet somehow they all held on.
“I could not see anything. It was so dark, even though it was the day,” said the 23-year-old, sitting at the school that had been established as an emergency evacuation centre. “I was just thinking of my brother, Regine, and my sister Fortunata. I could not feel my hands. We were praying and crying and asking God for help.”