Philippines

Remembering the tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan

Humanity & Inclusion’s team is preparing to launch a potential emergency response following Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which struck the Philippines this weekend. HI regularly works with people affected by natural disasters in the archipelago and launched a large-scale response to Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, which affected more than 14 million people and claimed more than 6,000 lives. Three victims of Typhoon Haiyan recall how they coped with the tragedy.


Shirley, a mother of six

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“We went to our neighbors’ house, because it’s built with concrete. That’s what we’ve always done when typhoons come. My sister carried me there because I am a polio survivor, and we waited for it to pass. But this time the wind was so strong that it barely resisted. We all stayed under a wooden table, holding on to it so that it didn’t fly away with everything else. The roof was torn away, parts of the walls collapsed; it was so scary.

“When it stopped, we saw that nothing was left around us, just debris of houses and fallen trees. Our house is completely destroyed, our crops too. My family grows cassava and bananas, and it is all gone. We will try to rebuild, but we have no money and we won’t be able to harvest anything for a year.” (Shirley lives in Giporlos in Eastern Samar)

Domingo, a former taxi driver

“Our house was completely destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan. When I was cleaning up the debris, I hurt my leg. I didn’t get it treated immediately and ended up not being able to walk. I’d been vaccinated for tetanus, but it wasn't enough. And it had to be amputated at the knee. It was a disaster. Fortunately, I came across HI’s teams, who gave me crutches and arranged for me to attend rehabilitation sessions.” (Domingo lives in Tacloban)

Oscar, the head of the family

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"It was a total disaster. Our house was destroyed by coconut trees. It killed all of my animals—my only source of income. I lost my leg a few years ago due to Buerger's disease. After the typhoon, it was hard to walk up the slope. HI gave me some new crutches and arranged for me to have rehabilitation care. I was also given some pigs to breed so I could earn my living that way.” (Oscar lives in Barangay of San Diego)