Sunday, November 10, 2013

Save the Children Voices from the Field - Typhoon Haiyan: Cut Off from the Rest of the World

Lynette Lyn, Asia Communications Manager

Tacloban, Philippines

November 10, 2013
It started at 5:30am. Strong winds and heavy rains – seemed manageable at first, but after an hour of constant pounding, I knew something was about to give way.

All four sides of this building in the Department of Education compound were hit – after the glass windows broke on one side, all six staff from Save the Children including myself evacuated to the next, and then next, until we found ourselves in our final safe room.

What more for the children in less sturdy buildings than this one, with the relentless pounding of rain, zinc roofs blowing in the sky and branches swept all around them? At the height of the storm’s prowess, the only thing I could see was the tree about to crash through the window while hoping that the ceiling would not fall on us.

We were texting information and taking media interviews, but before we knew it the cell reception was cut. And then, the radio signals went silent.
This is what it feels like to be cut off from the rest of the world.

Peering out the window after the storm passed, the area around looked completely flattened. Like the tornados that struck Moore in Oklahoma earlier this year, but with the added element of metre-high floodwaters.
As I write this at 12:30pm, still no information is flowing as there are no communications lines. But we know that the storm we’ve just seen must have brought about severe damage and destruction, and possibly the loss of many lives.

To make things worse, the storm may have passed us but it is headed straight to Bohol, where hundreds of thousands of children are living in temporary shelters, tents and tarpaulin following last month’s earthquake. Definitely unsafe for a storm of this magnitude.

The next few days will help determine the extent of the damage, needs and fatalities. Save the Children will be working round the clock to reach the worst-affected children and their families.

Donate to the Typhoon Haiyan's Children Relief Fund

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