Survival of mankind in the face of disaster

November 21, 2013

Tacloban, Philippines

By Bobby Yip

Back in 2006, I landed at Tacloban airport, then took a car for a six-hour journey to cover a mudslide which killed 900 people in a remote village in the central Philippines. Seven years later, Tacloban airport is the destination.

Each day after super Typhoon Haiyan battered the city, hundreds of homeless residents try to be evacuated. They fear being left behind, despite some having no clue about what their future holds in another city.

Many more do not leave their homes. They stay on, building make-shift tents and living among debris, where they can find useful items – zinc to make roofs and walls, wood to set up fire.

For those who shelter themselves in concrete structures, living conditions may be better, but they are facing the same problems of a lack of clean water and food.

For those whose structures did not withstand such a powerful natural disaster, it is their peace of mind that supports them to overcome the tragedy.

Man may not escape natural disasters, but it is man’s will to survive which brings hope and progress. Without transportation, I saw parents walk for miles carrying their sick children to fetch treatment. Without proper meals, I saw families staying together sharing what little remained. Until the end of the world, life must go on.

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see