The grandstand of Villamor Air Base was buzzing with teams of workers trying to help people displaced by the super typhoon that struck the central Philippines 10 days earlier, reports the Catholic News Service.
Evacuees, fresh off the military planes that took them here, could make free phone calls, register for transportation to meet loved ones in Metro Manila, get help to start their lives over and receive some much needed stress-debriefing. That was where some local nuns stepped in.
Nymiah Pateros told Catholic News Service she was thankful for help from Assumptionist Sister Anna Carmela Pesongco. 'She said she would contact our family here,'said Pateros, who is from the town of Palo, just south of Tacloban. 'She helped us, she has a cell phone. I don't have a cell phone now. It got washed out and filled with salt water.'
Pateros was holding her one-year-old daughter in her arms, giving her juice from a small box. The 29-year-old, her husband, their daughter and 3-year-old son, and her father all survived the typhoon's howling winds and fast-rising water brought by a massive storm surge that smacked Leyte province.
She said her husband 'was drifting in the water. And we clung to the branch of a tree. It was hard with two small children. I was so traumatised. That tidal wave, oh, the water was so strong!' Pateros, a Catholic, said she also prayed hard that no flying debris like loose corrugated metal roofs would hit her head as she huddled to protect her children.
Photo: Rosario Capidos cries while thanking God that she and her family survived Typhoon Haiyan as she prays during Mass in Tacloban
Full extent of typhoon disaster still unknown, says Caritas (Radio Australia)