The village of Barangay Magay after Typhoon Haiyan. Photo: Anne Wright/Oxfam
The village of Barangay Magay in Tanauan after Typhoon Haiyan.

Philippines Typhoon Haiyan: A first step toward recovery in Tanauan

“Our livelihoods, our jobs have gone and we are dependent on relief to survive. ”
Raynaldo Basibas

After Typhoon Haiyan had completed its deadly path across the island of Leyte, villagers in Barangay Magay, Tanauan, had no idea what they were about to experience.

They had already hidden in their small wooden houses as the fierce winds toppled nearly every tree they relied on for coconuts; their roofs had already blown away and concrete walls had crumbled to rubble.

But an even deadlier threat was looming. A storm surge several meters high enveloped the small village of 300 people, lifted them up and jolted them forward with the wave.

They were literally swept away, tossed around in the ferocious water and crashing into the debris of their homes, fallen trees and each other.
The surviving villagers finally washed up on sodden land more than a kilometer away and discovered they were standing among the ruins of a completely different village.

Resident Raynaldo BasibasThey walked back to see what was left of their homes realizing at least 80 of their friends and family were missing among them. They have found 60, drowned among the rubble. They are still looking for the others.

"We have lost everything"

Resident Raynaldo Basibas, 55, told us the village has little hope for recovery without support from the government and humanitarian agencies, as their community has lost everything.  His brother and second wife’s child and grandchild were killed.

“The people living here were washed out by the storm and found by the next barangay. That is why there are so many people missing here, but with so much debris we are unable to find their bodies,” he said.

“Our livelihoods, our jobs have gone and we are dependent on relief to survive. Many people in our village relied on fishing and coconuts, for the sap in the coconuts, but now everything is destroyed and we have no nets to fish with.”

"We want to get our lives back together"

Despite their tragic story, the resilient villagers of Barangay Magay have a determination to get their lives back together.

Waiting in heavy rain for two hours for Oxfam’s distribution of water and hygiene kits, the community created a makeshift distribution shelter with tarpaulins between two trucks.

Watch their amazing response as they receive a simple hygiene kit from Oxfam.

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