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'The wind was howling'

07 February 2014

Tim Wyatt has been listening to the stories of survivors of Typhoon Haiyan

Twisted: scenes of devastation are still all around. Above: a site cleared for rebuilding

Twisted: scenes of devastation are still all around. Above: a site cleared for rebuilding

IN MANY ways, the northern tip of the island of Cebu does not look like a place ravaged by a powerful typhoon just three months ago. Trees are down, with their roots showing, and the occasional corrugated-iron roof is damaged. But it is only when the Filipinos tell their stories, that the impact of the storm becomes clear.

Era Aroy, a mother of six, said that she fled to the nearest church as the typhoon hit her village of Manlagtang. "It sounded like a helicopter or an aeroplane was passing," she said. "The wind was howling - it was the strongest storm we have ever known."

Typhoon Haiyan tore her fragile home to pieces. "We couldn't bury the foundations into the soil because we don't own the land."

Mrs Aroy had to cobble together shelter from the shattered fragments of her house in less than a day. Her old bamboo bed is now her floor, and her two youngest children live in a makeshift tent outside.

Another victim of Haiyan was Virginia Samsung. Her daughter, who lives in the nearby town, warned her that the typhoon was coming; so she left her village of Lanao. When she returned, her house was gone. "Almost all the dwellings in the area were destroyed," she said.

Her daughters were not able to send her money in the first two months after the storm, but a cash-transfer programme by the aid agency World Vision stepped into the breach. Mrs Samson received two payments of about £35 each in December and January from the charity as emergency relief. She has used the money to buy food and building supplies.

To donate to the World Vision typhoon appeal, visit worldvision.org.uk.

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