May 25. Reflect, share and act. CAFOD witness. “The Lord gave me strength to swim. ”In November 2013, one of the most powerful cyclones ever to make landfall hit the Philippines. During Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, the wind gusted up to 235km an hour, whipping up the sea and tearing over a million houses apart.
Edzil was out at sea in a fishing boat when Typhoon Haiyan struck. “There were big waves,” remembers the young fisherman from Leyte Island. “The boat rocked and went over. I held onto anything I could. I swam for three hours. The water felt freezing. My mind was confused. I thought I would die that day. I did not know how I could keep swimming. The Lord gave me the strength to swim.”
Edzil didn’t know it then, but over 6,000 people lost their lives in the storm and 14 million were affected. “There were many people on our boat,” he says, “and all the others died. I was worried about my parents because I love them.” Back on land, a 12-foot-high wall of fast-moving water obliterated everything in its path – including Edzil’s home. Luckily, his parents took refuge in a stronger house: “Thank God the house had a second floor” he says. “They were safe. There were many people there – tight like sardines.”
Following his extraordinary survival, Edzil has new plans: “I have a mission now – to look after my parents. I want to go back to school and become an engineer. I have a good brain, like Albert Einstein!”
He puts on a cheerful face, but his relationship with the sea has changed forever. “I don’t want to be a fisherman,” he says. “Our sea is not clean, it is dirty. There are dead people in it. When I look at the sea I can’t forget my memories of Typhoon Yolanda.”
Reflect, share, act. Scripture. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is her served by human hands as though he needed anything since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. Acts. 17:25. Pope Francis: Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. LS25. Pray the daily Laudato Si’ prayer.