FFE Magazine

Typhooon Yolanda: tales of Survival Part III

Days after super typhoon Yolanda hit the country, stories from the survivors are surfacing, giving us extraordinary accounts of human strength, spirit and hope.


Higher ground


The death toll from typhoon Yolanda was raised at 5,209 as of 22 November. But miraculously, only one fatality was recorded in the island of Manicani, one of the first places to be smashed by the storm. How did the people of Manicani survive the worst of the calamity that almost wiped out bigger towns and cities in the path of the typhoon?


Two days before the storm, the residents already made for higher ground in a pre-emptive evacuation.




Smiling faces greeted journalists who landed on the island in a chopper. Kids rushed to greet the new comers, while the adults recounted their fear as they told their story.


The residents said that barangay officials had explained to them what storm surges were and they decided to evacuate two days before the typhoon even made landfall. Meanwhile, 42 people found shelter in a church during the height of the storm.


Marlon Celes said the group crammed inside a small room and hugged religious images which floated on the flood. He recounted what transpired in the church: ‘I closed my eyes and hid my face. I thought we didn’t have any hope of living through this.


‘I said “My God, my God save us from this”. My family, we held onto each other’s hands and my mother said “Nobody leaves no matter what happens”.


‘No one leaves — if we die, we die together.’


The church was left in ruins: its roof fallen in, doors and windows gone. Marlon added it was a miracle all 42 of them made it out alive.


At the village Buenavista, a huge sign was made asking for aid from choppers that happen to hover nearby. The residents said life was more difficult after the storm. But they’re not giving up because they still have each other.

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