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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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Day Twelve – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 20, 2013 – 9:32 am
C-130 Evacuates people from Tacloban after the typhoon

A lot of things have been puzzling me about this typhoon and in particular my experience of it. And yesterday, I had the chance to talk to a couple of journalists. Their questions brought into focus some of the details and brought back some of my memories of what had …

Day Thirteen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 21, 2013 – 11:19 am
Members of the CASDDA team and their trained dogs

I finally encountered my first Canadians among the relief organizations. They consisted, to my joy, of a group of four people with cadaver-sniffing dogs. The four dogs are large, beautiful animals of all different breeds. I was sitting with the BFP team when the Canadians returned from a mission with …

Days Fourteen & Fifteen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 22, 2013 – 1:03 pm
Destruction in the Magallanes District of Tacloban

Dan did manage to contact his friend the bicycle mechanic. This fellow works at the Bohol bicycle shop, and Dan arranged to be the very first customer on Monday morning when they plan to open their doors. He offered to go there with me and help me get my bike …

Day Sixteen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 23, 2013 – 8:51 am
The CASDDA team cares for their dogs in a shady spot

After my morning of running errands yesterday (buying alcohol fuel for my stove and food), my plans were to go out with my camera. However, it continued to rain, and there wasn’t much point to it. I hung out at the pension house drinking coffee, reading, making something to eat, …

Day Seventeen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 24, 2013 – 11:37 am
Two teenage girls help clear the rubble from their destroyed home

Yesterday was a day for public urination. No matter where I went, which street I went down, which corner I turned, I came across a man sending out a splendid stream of bright yellow liquid. That’s not uncommon, of course. There aren’t thousands of “Don’t Urinate Here” signs all over …

Day Eighteen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 25, 2013 – 12:49 pm
Bodies waiting to be picked up in the market area in downtown Tacloban City

A city without power can be a very quiet place. Last night, the silence was so complete and for so many hours that I imagined that I had gone deaf. I made some noise from time to time to ensure that my ears still worked.
At four a.m. this morning, the …