I was helping with relief work in Tacloban, a city in the Philippines devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda - the strongest storm ever recorded at landfall. According to those at the mayor's office around 10,000-15,000 lives were lost in Tacloban alone. Many people were taken by the huge sea surge that reached 30 metres high in places. It's a very tragic tale and a heart-pounding experience to see devastation of this kind.
While in Tacloban, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao arrived and at Tacloban City Hall we join him and Mayor Alfred Romualdez for prayers, speeches and singing in a beautiful flag ceremony attended by thousands of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda survivors. It was an extremely uplifting experience. Everyone was so very happy to see us.
We continue on in the afternoon and visit various sites around Tacloban.
Identifying the dead is a sad and grisly task and we paid our respects to those who had been retrieved that day. The BFP Retrieval Team work so hard to help families find and identify their dead and missing loved ones. The team that helped in the retrieval of victims in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 were also among those helping the typhoon-devastated Tacloban City.