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Super-Typhoon Yolanda – My First Three Days

November 10, 2013 – 3:39 pm
St. Nino Street in Tacloban City

On Nov 8, 2013, super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the town of Tacloban in the Philippines. I was in Tacloban at the time, and my hotel was hit with a storm surge ten feet deep. This is the first part of the journal I kept through the experience.

Day Four – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 12, 2013 – 10:20 am
The smell of dead bodies fills the air in Tacloban

As if a super-typhoon and storm surge weren’t enough, a low-pressure system has moved into the Tacloban area, bringing with it more rain. I was woken up early this morning to the unwelcome sound of rain drumming against my windows and, of course, pouring through the cracks and flooding the room. Being an idiot, I had put the second mattress on the floor with many …

Day Five – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 13, 2013 – 12:41 pm
Surviving in the ruins in the pouring rain

Another day of the typhoon and its aftermath begins. My heart begins to pound the very second that I wake up and become conscious of where I am. It’s not fear or panic or anything like that. It’s just a sense of urgency surrounding all the things that I feel I have to do.
Yesterday morning was the same, compounded by the dark clouds and the …

Days Six & Seven – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 15, 2013 – 2:04 pm
The BFP medical team tends to my various injuries

This day began without my usual pounding heart. The hotel has filled with people – including several children and 14 fire fighters – and life is beginning to feel not normal but something similar. I can hear the children playing outside and I can hear some neighbors building a fire and washing pots. I can even hear the engine of a motorcycle going past on …

Day Eight – Super-Typhoon Yolanda

November 16, 2013 – 10:38 am
Gathering up a trickle of water for washing clothes

It rained a great deal during the night, but the sun has come up this morning in clear skies. It remains to be seen if the rain will hold off during the day.
The rest of the afternoon and evening yesterday was spent relaxing and caring for my various wounds. Almost every task was difficult as I kept coming up against the injured finger on my …

Day Nine – Super-Typhoon Yolanda

November 17, 2013 – 12:54 pm
Dead bodies in the water along the shoreline in Magallanes, Tacloban

It rained again throughout the night and the morning yesterday. That kept me in and around the pension house. When the sky cleared in the early afternoon, I finally set off with my camera to explore the other side of the Tacloban shoreline and make my way up to the Astrodome.
The streets with their piles of debris and mud and trees and vehicles and furniture …

Day Ten – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 18, 2013 – 1:26 pm
Spray painted sign on the wall of a building in Tacloban City

The rain let up a little bit in the afternoon yesterday, and I went out for a walk. I was interested in going to City Hall to see what was going on there. I kept hearing more and more about City Hall and it seemed that, short of a trip out to the airport, this was the place to go to see what is happening.
The …

Day Eleven – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 19, 2013 – 2:15 pm
A member of the SOCO team examines a body retrieved 10 days after typhoon Yolanda struck

My experience of the typhoon continues to deepen, as yesterday I had the opportunity to go out with a Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) team as they retrieved bodies. Members of the BFP are staying at this pension house with me, and it was they that they suggested I go along. I’m not sure that I would have had the nerve to ask to accompany …