On November 8, Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines,made landfall in the central Philippines, bringing strong winds and heavy rains that resulted in flooding, landslides, and widespread damage. Typhoon Haiyan, was an exceptionally powerful tropical cyclone that caused catastrophic destruction and extensive devastation and it is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing over 6,000 people in that country alone. According to UN officials, about 11 million people have been affected and many have been left homeless.
Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed. Tacloban, the Philippine city that suffered the worst devastation from the super typhoon, is tentatively trying to regain its Christmas cheer. Most survivors are still dependent on aid and will be celebrating in the halls and classrooms operating as evacuation centres.
In a city where bodies are still being recovered at an average of 25 a day and survivors are busy rebuilding their lives, it’s hard to muster that spirit. The majority of survivors are at the rebuilding stage, and so Christmas will be very different.
However, Government Organizations have made an effort to boost Christmas spirit. Lanterns set up by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) around the St. Niño Parish and Tacloban Airport will light up the city, which is still mostly reliant on generators. A 17-metre Christmas Tree has also been erected on the grounds of Tacloban City Hall by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). Prisoners created decorations out of used water bottles and galvanised iron pipes left behind by the storm.
It will be an improvised Christmas this year in Tacloban but for those who survived Haiyan, it is a chance to be thankful for what they still have. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on donor nations to ramp up aid to the typhoon-battered Philippines as it grapples with a funding shortfall on the long road to recovery. “We must not allow this to be another forgotten crisis,” Mr Ban told reporters a day after touring the storm-ravaged city of Tacloban.
How Can You Help? www.unocha.org/crisis/typhoonhaiyan
– culled from Wikipedia, BBC News, The Guardian and the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)