CARE BLOG

Typhoon Haiyan – Philippines: “This will haunt me for a long time...”

11/12/13

Descriptions form CARE’s staff in typhoon-affected Philippines.

CARE emergency personnel are working to deliver emergency aid to families impacted by one of the largest storms ever recorded in the Philippines. CARE’s Sandra Bulling has been deployed to the outskirts of the coastal town of Ormoc and is in the city of Tacloban, Southern Leyte. She explains the scenes of devastation: 

“We are in Tacloban, and we’ve just driven along the coast. There are dead bodies along the coast, and the terrible smell of decay. There are bodies along the road. It’s pretty horrific. The whole team are shocked by what we’ve seen. I’ve never seen anything like this. This will haunt me for a long time.”

“People are lining up for food, the lines are kilometers long. It’s mainly women standing in line trying to get food or supplies. The men are mainly trying to repair their houses.”

“There are trucks upside down, and cars in trees. The storm surge was catastrophic.”

“It’s raining now, super heavy rain. There’s nowhere to find shelter. There aren’t enough roofs left. It’s not cold, but if you live here and stay out in the rain all day and all night… The mayor of one town said people are already starting to get sick.”

“The roads are mainly clear, but there is debris everywhere. We had to change our tire three times yesterday. You have to drive very slowly, and the cleared part of the road is very narrow. At one point, we didn’t have a spare tire left; if our tire had blown, we would have been stranded.”

“Despite the chaos, people are very calm, very patient. When we stop to ask for directions, people are very open and friendly. We see a lot of people helping each other.”

“At the airport, women and children have been lining up for more than 24 hours with no food, trying to get on a flight out.”

“Everyone is asking me if they can use the satellite phone to call family. I am trying my best but running out of battery.”

“We are headed towards the airport, where the UN has supposedly set up a base. We hope to meet other NGOs there to coordinate. We also hope we can stay there for the night.”

“Our office in Manila has arranged for another car from Manila with supplies, especially fuel. We hope it will arrive tonight. We just saw two cars upside down.”

“It has started to rain again. I saw people waiting in lines, their feet in water that still stands ankle deep in some streets. They are waiting for hours in the water – easy prey for disease!”

“My colleagues say this is the worst disaster in the Philippines they have seen. And some of them have years of experience responding to typhoons.”

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