Saturday, December 7, 2013

Philippines typhoon survivors determined to hope

Yahoo News via AFP: A raggedy cloth banner in a Philippine town torn apart by one of the most powerful typhoons on record declares that its residents are "roofless, homeless, but not hopeless". Super Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,500 people dead or missing and ruined the homes of about four million others when it tore across some of the Philippines' poorest fishing and farming communities.

A month after the typhoon struck, the battle for survival remains undeniably desperate in squalid towns, where masses of survivors huddle on roads still choked with debris while waiting for noodles, rice, water or other essentials being handed out by relief workers.

But the hand-painted message on the banner, hanging above a shop front being repaired on the outskirts of the hard-hit port city of Ormoc, represents a spirit of hope and resilience that resonates throughout the disaster zone.

International relief workers, who spend their lives visiting disaster zones around the world, have expressed surprise and admiration at the outwardly jovial determination of the survivors to "bangon", or rise, again.

"People are really struggling and yet the vast majority have got this incredible spirit where they just refuse to be defeated by this disaster," International Federation of the Red Cross spokesman Patrick Fuller told AFP on Friday after visiting some of the worst-hit areas in and around the coastal city of Tacloban....

A November 14 image of the US aid effort in Tacloban, US Department of Defense photo by MC3 Ricardo R. Guzman

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