'We're recovering but we still need your help' — Haiyan survivors

One year after Haiyan: Stories from the ground

In the early morning of Nov. 8, 2013, Reynaldo Cumpio woke up on a seemingly normal day and opened up his bamboo furniture shop in Tacloban, Philippines.

But in a matter of hours, Typhoon Haiyan destroyed his hometown. Reynaldo lost two of his grandchildren — aged 4 and 6 — and the business that has put food on his family’s plate and given diplomas to his already grown children.

Reynaldo’s story is just one of the many tragic narratives brought about by the destruction of Haiyan. Despite the battle scars one year after the impact of the storm, the 54 year-old man painstakingly tries to get back on his feet and recover. He is a perfect example of the many stories of recovery and resilience in the city that was once known as a jewel of the Visayas region witnessed last week by a Devex team that visited the “ground zero” of the catastrophe on the first anniversary of the storm.

There are many Reynaldos in the various disaster sites. We met with a potter who lost everything — house and material possessions — and is now trying to build his family’s life again through the dirt and mud that he molds through his work. Young mothers shared the experience (and hardship) they faced during the typhoon and the kind of help given to them following the disaster.

We touched base with a local village councilor to narrate his perspective on the vulnerability and gaps that remote areas face when a disaster comes, and chatted with a local health worker about the health situation following the storm.

These are the stories from the ground. The stories that reflect the effectiveness and efficiency — or lack of them — of national and international policies particularly in health, disaster risk mitigation and preparation, education, food and the environment. These are the stories that illustrate needs the international development community and the government have to address. Help has been given, but more, everyone told us, is still needed.

Watch the above clip to learn the tragic and inspiring stories from Haiyan survivors one year on.

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About the author

  • Lean 2

    Lean Alfred Santos

    Lean Alfred Santos is a Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prior to joining Devex, he covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics. Lean is based in Manila.

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