Family flees Philippine flood horror

Jason Russell, Ruth Love, Sophia and Andrew were trapped in flooding in the Phillipines
Jason Russell, Ruth Love, Sophia and Andrew were trapped in flooding in the Phillipines

A MAN who left Stamford to live in the Philippines had to spend hours in his loft after climbing to safety when floods hit.

Jason Russell, who grew up in Deeping St James before moving to Stamford, now lives in Mindanao, the worst hit area of the weekend’s flooding, which has left more than 1,000 people dead or missing.

Jason, 40, and his wife Ruth Love, 37, were forced to take cover in the loft space of their home and their children Andrew, six, and Sophia, five, who were staying with Ruth’s parents in the next street, climbed through the roof to escape the rising water.

Jason’s father Andrew Russell watched news of the flooding unfold on television at home in Emmanuel Road, Stamford.

Andrew, 61, who works as a cleaner at Stamford Hospital, said he and his wife Marie felt helpless.

He said: “They often have typhoons in the Philippines but Jason always said ‘we don’t get them here’.

“So when I saw the news, it was a complete shock. My wife and I had tears while we were watching.”

Andrew immediately tried to contact his son and Jason’s in-laws but couldn’t get through.

Andrew said: “We were really worried and just felt totally helpless.

“So when the phone rang at about 10pm and it came up saying ‘international’, I was so relieved.”

Father and son had a brief phone call where Jason said there had been a “bad storm”.

He relayed the details of the storm to Andrew and said the family had no electricity or drinking water but had been reunited with their children, who were safe.

Andrew said his son will spend Christmas trying to rebuild his life but that the family’s Christmas gifts which were on a table were protected by wrapping paper.

Jason has lived in the Philippines for about seven years and Andrew keeps in touch with his grandchildren using Skype.

Andrew said: “I’d just like everyone to spare a thought this Christmas for those who weren’t as lucky as my son.”