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colemanlee

Just some more pictures, The skylights that went the road from the carportYolanda6.jpg.6cc21d9a30200dffa7169ad355412db9.jpgYolanda5.jpg.064fcf6eb2b40d25233f9ad23486a382.jpg

The tree that took out the DK

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The busted gate

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Everybody in the master br

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Where the wave stopped

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The house across the street

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Where my brother in law ( that wanted to protect his house) house stood

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Looking down the street that ran by the shore, you can see the reason to use rebar in the walls and what happens when you do not

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Edited by colemanlee
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Barryrio

Unbelievable!!! We realize how ,lucky we were in Cebu City to avoid the brunt of that terrible event.

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to_dave007

One thing I never understood about Yolanda, was why the storm surge seemed like such a surprise in Tacloban.  Like you, I was tracking the storm on the computer as it approached, and I distinctly remember finding storm surge predictions at one web site.. I think it was NOAH..  or something like that. At the time I was mostly interested to see what the predictions were for my area in Cebu (and there was really no surge here).  But I remember seeing the color around Tacloban predicting the surge there. I think that was late on the 7th. 

Just now.. as I write this.. I searched and found this article, which does seem to say that the surge was predicted.

http://center.noah.up.edu.ph/devastating-storm-surges-of-typhoon-yolanda/

I've never lived in a hurricane area before, and have no experience except here in Cebu.  But I did have a business contact who ran a one man company with office close to the beach in Galveston.  He got wiped out by one of the hurricanes that came ashore there, and which wiped that beach area clean..  which is why I was searching for storm surge predictions on the 7th.  But here in the Philippines, with so much experience..  I can't understand how so many got killed in Tacloban when the predictions seemed so clear. 

 

Edited by to_dave007

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Headshot

Great story, Colemanlee. This was a friend's account? I remember at the time that when the eye wall hit the coast, there were reports of 200 mph sustained winds and wind gusts over 240 mph. To put that in perspective, that is about the velocity of a strong tornado, but with the size of a much larger storm. Totally incredible and totally unprecedented. Thank you for sharing.

Even in Mandaue, where I live, there were sustained winds of about 50 to 60 mph, with gusts up to 90 mph, and we were a long way from where the eye went across Cebu. I watched as several roofs were ripped from houses, and several trees went over.

I don't think that anybody could have dreamed of a storm that strong, even though the Philippines was warned beforehand that this would likely be the strongest storm in history. Neither the government, nor the people took it seriously, since they had ridden through so many typhoons in the past. Hence, there were a lot more casualties than there should have been (because people either didn't understand or ignored the warnings), and the government and utilities were totally unprepared to meet the challenges the storm created.

After Yolanda went through, there should not have been a single electric or comm wire running above ground in those areas that had been totally devastated by the storm. Imagine those areas without overhead utility lines. The government and the utilities had the perfect opportunity for a complete do-over, with all utility lines being run underground, all replacement structures set back from the streets far enough to allow for expansion and sidewalks, and the squatter areas revamped with multi-story concrete public housing structures and real streets (where emergency vehicles could actually respond to emergencies). Unfortunately, the government wasn't prepared to do any of that. Instead, things got built back more of less exactly as they had been. What a waste.

PS... Whoever split Colemanlee's post of into a separate thread, please move this post to that thread.

Edited by Headshot
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colemanlee
5 minutes ago, to_dave007 said:

One thing I never understood about Yolanda, was why the storm surge seemed like such a surprise in Tacloban.  

There are a couple of reasons it seems to me

One, and this is really sad, nobody seemed to understand the word "Surge" , a few months after the storm, LaSalle University in Manila sent a PhD down to determine why so many were killed.   I had the opportunity of sit down with him and have a few beers and discuss it...and the above is what he concluded after many interviews. The other thing we discussed, was the complete lack of preparation and active engagement by the government, both local and federal...caused by Philippine Pride...Sure many places had it forecast correctly (including us) but the Philippines has a history of listening to their own infrastructure ...which most of us know is not all that dependable.  Now if they had said Tsunami people would have understood that.  

The local government said after the storm that "We put it on the radio and tv, well thats all good, but most squatters do not have tv's and radio, hell they don't have electricity....and most of the deaths were in squatter area's and low lying areas... what they could have done if they had been inclined is take multi cabs with loud speakers on them and drive through all the affected areas warning people to get out...they do not have a problem running those things all day during elections.  They could have used the PNP and the Army to move people out, they did not. As I said above, I personally told the mayor exactly what would happen three days before the damn thing hit..and got the stupid American look...not only by him but the rest of the officials, and to this date, Ive never heard a acknowledgement, that we should have listened...and I never will, its Filipino Pride 

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to_dave007

Here in Tuburan there was an abundance of municipal staff travelling through the municipality warning people.  No one here could have missed the warnings, which DID include "stay away from the beach area" warnings.  In the days before the storm, we must have been visited 3 or 4 times by municipal staff.   Not just us..  they were passing up and down the roads telling everyone by loud speaker.

So your comments about the lack of that in Tacloban are pretty telling.

Edited by to_dave007
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to_dave007

When Yolanda hit here in Tuburan Cebu, my fiancé (at the time) and I were staying with our two young sons and several other family members in a beach resort here while the house was being built.  The building where we slept had several rows of hollow block, with amacam and plywood above that.. so mostly a wooden structure..  with jealousy windows.

By about 7am on the 8th the winds were howling and the ladies were too frightened to stay longer in the building, and so we moved into the pool area of the resort where we had a strong wall on the west and south sides (where the wind would be coming from).  We were about 15 feet above sea level and in no danger of surge or flood damage, so it was just the winds we were worried about, and the building where we took shelter was strongly built, and sure enough we weathered the storm just fine. We were about 40km from the eye of the storm  as it passed over the west coast of Cebu, and I know what the winds were like for us..  so I can't imagine how much stronger they were near the eye, or near the first landfall.

By 11 the winds died down quickly, and my BIL hacked a way through the downed branches to the road.  I tried to drive down the highway, but was blocked to the south by a 3 foot diameter giant gemelina tree across the road.  Was the same in the other direction.

Around 2pm we heard a chain saw, and I walked out to the highway again, and to that big gemelina. There was a convoy of men from the town, headed by the mayor himself with his sleeves rolled up, and about a dozen police and firefighters, and two guys with chainsaws and more guys with bolo's, and they just hacked off the branches and cut the tree into 8 or 10 feet sections, and muscled the sections off the road.  The convoy passed all the way up the road that day, and before night fall the highway was free of trees all the way through the municipality.  Nice to see such an action oriented man as mayor (and not the first time we've seen him jump into action).

Took much longer for all the wires and posts to be fixed.

We got power back in about 4 weeks.

 

BTW..  we prepared for the storm by buying some plastic tarpaulin and some coco lumber and a sheet of plywood.  We put the coco lumber on the floor and the sheet of plywood in top of it and then placed all or "stuff" that we didn't want to get wet on the plywood and then covered it with the tarp and tied it well.  Sure enough.. the amacam building didn't keep much water out, and we needed to bale out the water from our room.  But the stuff stayed dry.

 

 

Edited by to_dave007
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Bama

  Back to Tacloban for a minute.

1 hour ago, colemanlee said:

The local government said after the storm that "We put it on the radio and tv, well thats all good.

My wife went through Yolanda while I was still in the states.The last time that I talked to her before being cut off she said that they were monitoring TV and radio before the storm hit and the authorities were acting as if it was just another typhoon.

I then explained to her that this was probably the strongest storm that has ever been recorded.I told that the Weather Chanel was sending crews to the PI to cover this event.That woke the wife up for sure---she hastily packed most of the family up in the car and headed inland.

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Jawny

I recall seeing news reports after the storm had passed where the mayor of Tacloban was interviewed.  He was among the survivors with his own harrowing story.  Interestingly, his survival was fortunate, but in part he had placed himself and family in an odd location to weather out the storm.  If I recall correctly, he and some family and staff went to a house he had which was closer to the sea.  The surge affected his house and now he and His family were among the survivors.

i had a couple of generators at the time, but little fuel.  Within a day or so I was able to get to a gas station and was stunned to see few people and no limits on purchases.  I loaded up dozens of extra liters of gas.  Within a couple of days, there were very long lines and limits on sales.  We bought some containers from a neighbor who had a banka and he went to a nearby island and bought hundreds of liters of fuel for us.  We’ve never had less than a couple couple hundred liters since.  Mowed a lot of grass since then.

We had little cash, but enough on hand.  We went to the bank we use and luckily ran into the manager just leaving.  He greeted me to say the bank wasn’t going to be able to conduct transactions without power and internet access.  However, he did offer to take my passbooks and when he or his staff made a trip to Cebu, they could update our passbooks.  Got cash. Pays to be friendly with the local banker.

We were gone for a couple of  days from Leyte weeks after the storm, travelled to Cebu.  We’d run the generator for a while, but not through the night.  It is very, very dark at night here.  Our children were attended to by family, but someone saw some lights in the nearby jungle.  Rumors were wild about some prisoners that had been released from jails in the province, so people were nervous. When the lights in the jungle were seen, the family and some neighbors crawled around in the jungle with torches looking for any bad guys.  Must have been a sight to see.

 

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colemanlee

Yea, the Mayor went to a resort he owns, Patio Victoria, which is a indication of just how little the government paid attention to the storm, the wife and kids and I go there a pretty good bit as it has nice pools, but the place is located less than 50 meters from the ocean with no wall between the buildings and the beach...seemed to me like inviting your family's death ....

My son was stationed in Cotobato at the time and brought a chopper up after a couple of days to check on us and survey the destruction for his CO...he managed to get me a 55 gal drum of gas and another of diesel, a bunch of ammo, and some survival stuff....I ran my generator on that for months plus gave a bunch to the church as they had a lot of people staying there...

A good friend of mine lost his house but had a business downtown where he and his family stayed, he had two guys try to break in but shot and killed them both, didn't have any trouble after that.

It was indeed like the wild west for a few weeks here, like something you saw in the movies with entire mobs of people breaking into anything with a door...they actually stole SUV's and drove them thru the doors of Robinsons...it was like people had lost their minds...not to mention stripping the dead of everything from clothes to money and jewelry ...and there were over 10k bodies no mater what is published.

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Bama
5 minutes ago, colemanlee said:

...and there were over 10k bodies no mater what is published.

I remember that the public official that said that there probably 10K fatalities got his tail canned quick.The actual number of deaths from Yolanda was probably twice that amount.

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colemanlee

Hell the mass grave out where you live has more than ten thousand from the amount of body bags I saw

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badian

I was in Compostela Cebu when it became obvious it was going to be a big one. I looked at the weather map, and just didn't fancy the chances frankly. I took the decision to leave on the Tuesday night and packed up and left on the Wednesday morning.  I just went over to the west side of Cebu on the Transcentral reasoning that the mountain would be enough cover. Balamban, where I checked into a lodge, was south enough, as it turned out, for it to be really rather mild there. Not that much wind and rain at all. Not scary. Power went off at 6am but came back on at 6pm. Was out doing the videoke in Buanoy with a couple of girls later that night, as if nothing had happened. Only the next day, did the news start to come in about how badly Leyte had got done. 

2013 was the second year in a row, that I'd taken that type of evasive action from a typhoon. In 2012, it was Pablo, a few weeks later on in the year and I was on Leyte that time. I knew even then, before Yolanda, that you don't want to be on Leyte whenever there is a typhoon, so I got on the motorbike and legged it that time too. I got the last ferry to leave Ormoc and when it got to Cebu I bombed over the mountain that time as well to be on the safe side, just as I was to do the next year. In the event, Bopha did not affect northern Leyte too much, that time the storm path was much more southerly. It was southern Mindanao and southern, not northern Leyte that got done by Pablo, and unlike Yolanda, when it was northern Cebu, in 2012 it was southern Cebu that got a bit of a hit. Pablo had dissipated a bit by the time it got over there, but a few people got hurt, and one or two were even killed I think, by accidents like falling debris in municipalities like Alcoy and Oslob, that were totally unaffected the next year. Unlike the northern Cebu ones like San Remegio, Medellin, and Maya, which Yolanda messed up big style. 

Legging it to Balamban both times was prudent because on the west side, you are always covered to an extent by the Cebu mountain but, I was kind of lucky both times. It was just a bit too far north to have any problems in 2012, and just a bit too far south, to have any problems in 2013. 

the previous year to Pablo, 2011, I was kind of lucky then too. I was all set to head to Cagayan de Oro for a trip to Camiguin, and actually went down to the Cebu port with a girl to get the ferry, but because of the approaching Sendong storm, all the ferries were cancelled. Two days later, Tropical Storm Sendong killed over 1,000 people in CDO where I had been headed. 

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hyaku
3 hours ago, colemanlee said:

Hell the mass grave out where you live has more than ten thousand from the amount of body bags I saw

One of my ex students from San Carlos works for the fire service. He was assigned to go to Tacloban to purify water. No protective gear,  just a mask. First day there they were putting bodies in a mass grave. More rains came and filled the hole. Bodies were floating and they had to fish them all out again to redo it. 

We stuck it out in our concrete fortress built into the mountain. First time out of the house to find absolute devastation. I joined the barangay crew clearing roads.

We stuck it out on noodles for three weeks. Tried to buy more food in town but the shelves were empty. We were told there was a 3000 waiting list to get out of Ormoc on the boats. Finally managed to get out on a local boat and evacuated to stay in Cebu and Dumaguete two weeks before Christmas. Stayed away until February when the power came on again.

The following year typhoon Ruby hit us just as hard. Now we have just had urdujah with landslides and bridges smashed to pieces.

I have suffered far worst typhoons in Japan losing my roof twice and the car. But there as the infrastructure and community spirit to work is so good, things are back up in a week.

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