You are here

Philippines: people’s stories in Panay

Concern Worldwide is responding to the emergency in the Philippines, following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan. We met some of the people most affected in the Iloilo province of Panay and heard their stories of devastation.

Pacita Antonano (71) in front of the wreckage of her home near the town of Ajuy on the island of Panay, Philippines. She was pinned down by a fallen beam lying across her throat for four hours during the height of the storm.

We are currently airlifting basic supplies to the Panay area in the Philippines. We plan to work with local charities and the government there to help meet the immediate and longer-term needs of those most affected by the typhoon.

Total devastation

Our emergency team and CEO, Dominic MacSorley, have completed their assessment of the damage on the island of Panay and we have a plan in place to respond to the needs of the affected communities.

In the area of Concepcion alone, it is estimated that 7,000 homes have been totally destroyed, and another 2,000 badly damaged with more than 40,000 people affected. Dominic said:

People here are well used to dealing with storms. They are resilient and resourceful, but it's the sheer intensity and scale of Haiyan and the destruction it caused that has overwhelmed them. Much of the focus of the international response has been in Tacloban, but there are many outlying areas, like Panay, which have received only very limited assistance to date.

Mark Tizon (28) with Janna Marie (5) and Yana Joy (6) stand in the remains of their home in the village of Sitio Tibi on the island of Panay in the Phillipines. Mark says that they were lucky to escape Typhoon Haiyan with their lives.

Pacita’s story

Pacita’s home was completely destroyed by the ferocity of Typhoon Haiyan. She described the moment when her house was swept away with her still inside it:

The whole house was lifted up into the air and dumped over there, upside down. I lay in the mud for 4 hours with a post pinned across my neck […] it was so loud and very frightening.

Now, Pacita and many people like her are huddling together in makeshift shelters amid the wreckage of their homes. One father, Mark (pictured above) described how he had to drag his two daughters, aged just three and six, to the relative safety of a nearby ditch:

It was so scary. I was afraid I would lose one of them in the strong wind.

Our initial priorities

Our CEO, Dominic MacSorley said:

We are focusing initially on the need for shelter and household items, but we also recognise that up to 70% of these coastal communities rely on fishing for a living and so we will also provide assistance to them to help them to re-establish their livelihoods and self-sufficiency as quickly as possible.