"Life is a struggle here," Dilao, 43, told AFP a few days after Typhoon Hagupit destroyed his shanty and killed more than 20 people this month. He likened the plight of local people to those of stray chickens. "We're scratching at the soil non-stop in hopes of finding a scrap to eat," he said.
Hagupit came a year after Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest ever storm recorded on land, killed 7,350 people on Samar and neighbouring islands.
Samar, about half the size of Belgium, is often the first major Asian landmass hit by the more than 20 tropical storms or typhoons that are born in the Pacific Ocean each year.
With much of the mountainous island stripped by deforestation, most of its 1.8 million residents live on narrow, sea-level strips along the coast, at the mercy of the storms' ferocious winds and tsunami-like ocean surges....