Staying behind to rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan

Widespread devastation is left behind in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan on November 10, 2013 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines.

Now three days since one of the most powerful storms in history slammed into the Philippines, the death toll continues to rise. Food and water are scarce and some people who lost their homes are trying desperately to get out while others have stayed and are beginning the grueling process of cleaning up and rebuilding.

The BBC's Alastair Leithead traveled to Cebu, one of the hardest hit areas of the islands near Tacloban, where we've seen most of the images of destruction.

"It looks like this area has been very badly hit," says Leithead, who mentions that official damage estimates haven't yet accounted for the entire region.

"There's the orange glow of a few fires outside homes, and a few pieces of blue light you get from the flourescent tubes that people are running off generators," Leithead says after arriving at night at the edge of a destroyed area, "It's very eerie."

Leithead says power is still down for much of the island and large areas that used to be towns are now completetly flattened, but clean up has already started, with people clearing debris into piles on the side of the road. For those who've stayed behind, though, it's just the beginning.

"It's such a huge task, even with all the aid that's coming in," says Leithead, "Just cooordinating it -- finding the people who need it most, getting the help to them -- and we still have no idea at this point as to how many people have died, how many people are injured, how many people still desperately need help from the authorities."

About the author

Lizzie O'Leary is the new host of Marketplace Weekend.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...