TACLOBAN, Philippines — This weekend marks one year since a powerful super typhoon hit the Philippines, killing thousands. CBN News returned to the scene of the devastation to see firsthand how the rebuilding efforts were progressing.
Charlie Cedeno was born in the city of Tacloban. The neighborhood where he grew up is located a few hundred meters from the Philippine coast.
CBN News was there days after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on the coastal neighborhood of Cedona. Footage shot by a small drone shows the massive damage done to the area.
Eight thousand people died on November 8, 2013. Tacloban was worst hit, with 30,000 houses destroyed.
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Today, many people still live in tents because they have no homes to live in.
Michael Saoy is one of around 15,000 residents who live in tents or makeshift homes. In the year following the storm, the government was only able to build 50 new homes.
« It’s still very difficult and little has changed, » Saoy told CBN News. « I’m looking for ways to overcome my current situation, but the government is moving too slowly. »
Cedona is one of the luckiest people because he has a new home. CBN Disaster Relief he built transitional homes for 1,550 families, including himself.
When the typhoon destroyed the company where he worked, CBN Disaster Relief hired him.
« I’m so happy because they gave us a home and they gave me a job. I’m proud to be part of an organization that really helps people, » Cedona said.
There were approximately 16,000 businesses operating in Tacloban before Typhoon Haiyan hit. Today, around 7,000 of them are back in business.
One such business is Calle Z Café, owned and operated by Jerry Ruiz.
The restaurant suffered a lot of damage from the storm, but two weeks after the typhoon, Ruiz decided to send a message to his city by opening up for business.
“We were trying to lead by example, trying to get everyone’s morale to get things back to normal,” she told CBNNews.
This Saturday, which marks the one year anniversary of the typhoon, Michael Dacatimbang will join neighbors and friends in remembering that fateful day.
Dacatimbang lost her mother in the typhoon and today she, along with 3,000 other people, are buried in a mass grave.
« It’s very painful to know that she’s here, but I can’t grieve forever, » he said. « I have to try to keep going through this storm. »
City officials are putting the final names of the deceased on the crosses before Saturday.
« The difficult part is that you are burying people and that weighs on our hearts, but it is our duty to create a sacred place that people can come and remember, » said Tacloban city official Antonio Valderrama.