Typhoon wind 'sounded like a ghost'

2013-11-20 14:53
Typhoon Haiyan survivor John Dave de Lira describes how he and his family took shelter from the devastating storm. (Lauren Hess, News24)

Typhoon Haiyan survivor John Dave de Lira describes how he and his family took shelter from the devastating storm. (Lauren Hess, News24)

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Palompon - “It was like whistling. The wind sounded like a ghost,” a man in a village near the coastal Philippine town of Palompon told News24 of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

John Dave de Lira described how he hid with his family in his house in Tabunok as Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) tore through his village. 

“You could see the fear in their eyes,” de Lira said of his four children.  “I’m worried about my boy, he’s 2-years-old, he’s usually noisy but all the time he just sat.”

The Philippine father said he hid his children and their three cousins under a table. Filipinos are used to typhoons and tropical storms but many have said they’ve never experienced a storm displaying Haiyan’s fury.

SA relief mission

South African relief NGO Gift of Givers deployed some of its medical and rescue staff to the village. Hundreds of people came to be treated, including about seven children with chicken pox. 

Many of the adults were treated for hypertension and anxiety.

Gift of the Givers doctor Mounin Kotchi treated the patients in a dilapidated church. He said more than half of those treated were children. He will be returning to the village on Thursday to continue his work.  Most houses in the area were completely destroyed by the storm, as were two schools and a chapel.

Gift of the Givers personnel deployed to other villages said that buildings there had also been destroyed.

Despite the record power of Haiyan, Palompon has only recorded eight deaths. This has been attributed to good planning on the part of local authorities who forced residents to evacuate two days before the storm hit. 

There were five evacuation centres, three of which were damaged or destroyed by the typhoon as well.

Local children will only return to schools next year. Many locals also said they expect more typhoons up until the end of the year.  

Residents in the area were in dire need of medical and food supplies and water. 

The death toll from the storm is near 3 000 with thousands of people still missing.

- News24's Lauren Hess is in the Philippines with South African aid group Gift of the Givers. Follow her on Twitter for updates on the rescue mission.

Read more on:    philippines  |  typhoon haiyan  |  natural disasters

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