Typhoon Haiyan: A Survivor's Diary


Experiencing a disaster of Haiyan’s scale is difficult enough. Having one’s home and source of livelihood destroyed make it even tougher. But being with a loved one during a catastrophe and suddenly losing him in an unexpected, unfortunate turn of events is the most painful. 

Jinky Calub, 16, of Tabon Tabon, in the province of Leyte in the Philippines lost her father the hour super typhoon Haiyan was at its strongest, when he was hit by a falling coconut tree. 

Through her journal notes, Jinky shares her pain of losing a parent and the difficult journey of recovering the past six months, grappling with a gamut of emotions from anger to denial to resignation. On Haiyan and her father’s six month anniversary, Jinky struggles to find the resolve to be hopeful again and move on.

Here is her story as she writes it:

November 8, 2014

The day super strong typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit us. I never expected that Yolanda would be that strong. Gosh, the winds were so strong, one cannot even stand as the winds can sweep you off. Almost all the trees fell. I was really scared that time and I didn’t know what to do, where to go, where is the safe place for us. I asked God to let this end, for nothing bad to happen to us, for Him not to abandon us. “Lord, please save us! Lord, please!”.

We saw how our house was destroyed little by little. As we ran outside, father got separated from us because he said he will untie our pig to let it free. I told him not to bother anymore but he still went on. Later, mother and I were calling out to him but he wasn’t answering. We couldn’t see him anymore.

When the winds stopped, mother and I looked for him. We saw him immediately but he was already gone, no longer breathing. He was truly dead. Mother and I cried so much. Father‘s condition looked really bad because a coconut tree fell on him. 

We asked help from the neighbors to move his body. We did not want to just leave him there. But we were told that the storm is not over yet and that it will end around 10 am. We were told to go to the toilet where other people ran to for cover. It is there where we waited for the storm to pass.

Mother and I were still crying hard. I will never forget this day. 

December 2014 
It’s almost a month now since father died.

I always think of him. We really miss him. I really miss him. In my longing for him, I just find myself crying. We should have been just fine, if only Yolanda did not happen. Father should still be alive now. Since he died, there’s always something missing-- no matter how happy I am, even if I am smiling, there’s still an ache inside me. There’s a pain in my heart and it will never go away.

Christmas is near. I’m not excited. But somehow, I try to be happy for my mother. I try to be strong for her.

And on Christmas, I cried because I remember father. I really miss him. 

January 2014

 My new year is sad. 

But I told myself it’s time to move on. Mother and I need to recover. I will help her. We will help each other so our home can be rebuilt. Even if what happened still hurts, we need to move on. We can no longer bring back things as they used to be. We need to be strong and face life’s new challenges.

I really want our home to be rebuilt. 

February 2014

This month the shelter assistance from CARE-ACCORD was released. I’m happy because it will speed up the construction of our home. There would be less costs, too.

March 2014

I remember our high school graduation. I really want to pursue college education. 
I really want to study. That’s my plan. 

April 2014 

I applied for a CHED (Commission on Higher Education) scholarship.

I passed my application form on April 3. I’m nervous about the results- if I will be accepted or not. I’m also excited somehow. I’m always praying that I will be accepted so I can study for college. I will take up Education. I really hope I will be accepted.


Six months after Haiyan and her grief of losing her father, Jinky looks forward to better days ahead, including having their home rebuilt and completed to help them in recovering and finding acceptance.

Jinky’s mother received a shelter repair kit assistance and cash grant from CARE. CARE is happy that even in a small way, our shelter intervention may contribute to easing their family’s burden and aids their recovery. 

The journal notes were originally in Filipino and were, as faithfully as possible, translated to English. The notes were also translated almost in its entirety, leaving out only a few sentence describing graphically Jinky’s father’s extent of injuries sustained in the unfortunate accident- in deference to the family.

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