Building back better
By Vo Thi Ty
Resident of Quang Nam, Vietnam
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Editor’s note: Vo Thi Ty was one of thousands of individuals affected when typhoon Ketsana hit southeast Asia in 2009. Since the storm, she and her family have partnered with Habitat Vietnam to repair the damage done to their home.
We were having breakfast when the wind struck. A dark cloud formed very quickly outside, and my first piece of metal roof was broken right away.
My father-in-law immediately brought my children to his house, and we ran after him as quick as we could, away from our home. My children were frightened; they kept crying and screaming. I was so scared that I couldn’t even look back. My neighbors’ houses were well-built so they just stayed inside. For us, the roof was torn apart and away. I had never, ever seen a typhoon so fierce.
My husband and I returned home that night. It must be how a battlefield looks! Inside the roofless house, everything was wet and broken. The bamboo thatch was mostly gone. The garden was messy, with all the banana trees down. The chickens were dead. We used plastic sheets to temporarily cover up, but soon they were too fragile to withstand the weather. Whenever the wind came, they would tear little by little.
Once we received roofing materials from Habitat Vietnam, we immediately put up the roof, within a day. In the summer, this new roof will cause the house to be cooler compared to the old metal roof we used. It’s also more weather-resistant as it’s much thicker and better installed. It was a touching moment for our family to see the new sturdy roof. I’m so happy we’ve got help when we needed it the most.
Without Habitat, I don’t know how long we would have suffered until we could afford a new roof. And now that we’ve got solid materials, I don’t think the next storm can bring us down any more.