Featured Photo by CNN Philippines
On November 1, 2013, a low pressure area was spotted over the Caroline Islands in Kiribati. It moved westward and intensified into a tropical depression on November 3. It became a tropical storm and earned the international name “Haiyan” on November 4 and eventually escalated into a typhoon category on November 5. With an expanding and deepening obscuring of clouds and clear eye visible on satellite, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) upgraded Haiyan to a super typhoon which had maximum sustained winds of 150 km/h and gustiness of up to 185 km/h on November 6, 2013. It became the 24th typhoon to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) and was locally named “Yolanda.”
On November 8, Yolanda hit the Philippines with winds of 195 mph, and has been described as the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded history. It made six landfalls: 1) Guiuan, Eastern Samar at 4:40 am of November 8; 2) Tolosa, Leyte at 7 am; 3) Daang Bantayan, Cebu at 10 am; 4) Bantayan Island, Cebu at 10:40 am; 5) Concepcion, Iloilo at 12 noon; and 6) Busuanga, Palawan around 8 pm. Yolanda was accompanied by monstrous winds that uprooted trees and tore roofs off buildings, while storm surges as high as 10-20 feet smashed into coastal communities.
At around 7 am that day, the whole world lost contact with the affected areas because power and communication lines were cut off, and even the satellites could not locate Leyte and Samar from the map. It was only at around 8 pm of the following day that the world began to see in media the grim images of destruction and death caused by Yolanda. Media from around the globe generated a deluge of news, feature and commentaries on the rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation efforts of government, the private sector, and international humanitarian assistance.
Source: Department of Health
I was 14 years old when Super Typoon Yolanda smashed the Visayas region. I was residing at Capiz, near from Iloilo where the typhoon made its fifth landfall. We were on a truck. Yes, we were about to be evacuated to the nearby barangay so that we wouldn’t get trapped in a flood, but we were caught off by the strong winds in the middle of our journey. Everyone on that truck couldn’t do anything aside from sitting with heads down and praying. We couldn’t continue the journey because there were trees that fell down and blocked the road.
The policemen with us made a decision to change direction and decided to bring us to the town proper. We’ve crossed the bridge despite of our fear, we thought, what if the wind will carry the whole truck and throw us in to the river? But we made it. We continued evacuating in the middle of the storm until the truck couldn’t go on any further because a fallen tree blocked the road.
The storm calmed down. We left the truck and started to walk until we reached the house of one of the police who rescued us. Right after we stepped on the doorway of the house, the storm angrily came back stronger. We were so thankful that we’ve found a shelter during that time of uncertainty and fear. The next day, we walked our way home and I saw many worms along with the deep mud. Trees were everywhere. We were also told that our houses in the riverbank were washed out. We lost contact with my grandmother who is blind (she was brought to a shelter by a policeman), and met her after a few days. My aunt went to check if we still had home to live and fortunately, it was only partially damaged. I cannot recall how long it took us to go home, nor how many weeks with no electricity. We just relied on the relief goods that were given to us. It took us some time to go back to school.
Typhoon Haiyan left us scars that cannot be fully healed especially to my fellowmen in Leyte and Samar. It was devastating and scary, yet we need to have strong faith to continue to live on.
The southern Luzon faced Typhoon Quinta last October 25 leaving damages in properties, agriculture and even claimed lives from the regions of Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western and Central Visayas, based on data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Super Typhoon Rolly (Goni) made its landfall on the first day of the month leaving at least 19 dead in the Bicol Region and has totally damaged at least 109,544 homes.
Recently, Typhoon Ulysses‘ landfall on November 11 has triggered massive flooding in Metro Manila, Rizal, and other areas. Tens of thousands of homes in low-lying areas in Metro Manila, Rizal, Bicol and other parts of the country were submerged by the floods, prompting residents to scramble onto rooftops, awaiting rescue. While people in these areas are trying slowly to rise again, Cagayan and Isabela experienced the massive flood caused by the heavy rains of Typhoon Ulysses.
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Now, our country has faced consecutive strong typhoons and some provinces are still drown by flood. Many Filipinos have lost homes, properties, and even lives. The recent typhoons left us trembling in fear and worry. I cannot imagine how scared the affected communities are.
I would like to ask you to please include the people of the Philippines in your prayers especially those who are greatly affected by typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses. And the people in Cagayan and Isabela who are currently experiencing massive flood caused by typhoon Ulysses. May all of those who are trapped be finally rescued. Filipinos need your help and prayers. Thank you.
Attached links to this post are some links of donation drives where you can send help: