The day was already gloomy, I thought to myself, when a localized thunderstorm carrying flood waters from the mountaintops of Bukidnon brought further heavy rainfall to the lower lying areas of Pantar and Balo-I, Lanao del Norte.

Despite prior forecasts of heavy rainfall, the people were caught unprepared, perhaps even, unaware of the consequences thunderstorms could bring these days.    This particular downpour left the people of Pantar and Balo-I in awe.

Around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, flashfloods started to ravage temporary relocation areas where displaced people—mostly evacuees from the Marawi siege who were further affected by the lashes from Typhoon Vinta, have sought refuge.  The waters took the lives of a couple—a man and his wife from Brgy Lower Kalungunan in Pantar.   Duyog Marawi volunteers who had just come from relief operations a few municipalities away were stranded in the same flood and had barely escaped the rushing waters.  They helped search for and retrieve the woman’s body that same afternoon, before heading back to DM center of operations in Iligan City.

As a member of Duyog Marawi Media and Communications Team, I had the misfortune of being on watch, monitoring the team that had gone off near Pantar and helped with the retrieval of the bodies. Feeling utterly helpless, I sat there in front of the screen, watching IDP communities in their temporary shelters doing their best to save themselves from further displacement and praying to Allah to help these people in yet another trial in their lives.How we all survive one disaster after another—from the Marawi Siege, to STS Vinta, Agaton, and other  localized thunderstorms, is a true test of our people’s resilience.  How we, as volunteers,  try with all our strength and creativity, to be with the people of Marawi in these very trying times, is maybe what it means to be part of Duyog Marawi—to be people who journey with the people—through thick and thin, to tell all their stories of struggle with war, with nature and with the elements, and to see them through when they are able to claim Marawi back for themselves, for their dreams and for their future.