In Their Own Words: Typhoon Haiyan Survivors Speak
Mrs. Josie Barro
Mother of two (ages two and three)
We had a strong house. But during the typhoon, it fell down. We ran out to escape. I was carrying my two children.
We ran to a cave. When we got there, I thought my daughter was dead, she was so cold and pale.
I was so happy to realize my daughter was alive.
There were 13 people hiding in the cave, three families. It was a big cave, but we stayed at the mouth of it. We were scared there might be snakes. We were afraid. And cold and wet.
We slept in the cave one night because we didn’t have a home to go back to. The next day we made a makeshift hut.
I wash clothes for the neighbors. My husband is jobless.
During the typhoon, we sent our children to a solid house. My husband and I stayed in our house. We were holding the posts of the house. We saw roofs flying.
About 8 am, we realized the house would be destroyed. We ran to the safer house.
Now we have created this small, low shack. We all sleep here. When we’re sleeping and it rains, we get wet. We wake up and sit.
My husband is a good carpenter. But no one has money to pay.
I lost my right leg when I was young. I made this [artificial] leg myself from PVC pipe. I’ve used this leg for years. Walking is a little painful. Running is much more painful.
When we saw the roofs flying during the typhoon, we ran to the [solid] house. When I ran, it was painful.
Eight families were there. We prayed to God that the wind would stop.
During the typhoon, I hid under this sink. Debris piled up. After the storm ended, my neighbor dug me out. Most of my house was gone.
I had a mini-canteen here at my house. I made food and people would sit here and eat. They liked my barbecue chicken. I also sold small items. People here have money at the sugar cane harvest. I’d open then. I earned money. It helped.
I didn’t expect our house would survive the storm. And it didn’t.
I put clothes in a sack and we stayed in my mother’s house. Her roof was torn off. We hid in the bathroom. During the whole stom I was holding my children and they cried.
We tried to salvage the remaining materials of our house. We don’t have 500 pesos ($12 US) to buy a tarp. So we sleep at my mother’s now.
My first priority is rebuilding the house.
Our house completely fell down. We were so afraid. The children were crying.
We built a small makeshift house from salvaged materials. We need food. And roofs.
The mountain is bald. Before the typhoon, it was beautiful and green.
Our house was destroyed. I cried because my English book was gone. My Math, Values, and Science books just got wet.
Some people say “Lord, why did you destroy our house?”
If we cry, the house will not come back. So it’s better to be positive. If you think about your house being gone, it will hurt too much.
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Interviews conducted November 15-21, 2013