A City Transformed

Today was our first day in Tacloban City. We flew here from Manila in the wee hours of the morning. Tacloban sits on the coast on a different island, the island of Leyte and it was the town and region most devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. It’s incredible to think how the city has been rebuilt in so short a time after such utter destruction. Pictures of this town immediately following the typhoon show streets piled high with rubble and little left standing. But though many people have rebuilt, the emotional and psychological wounds remain. Today people I spoke to about the typhoon began to cry – the memories are still so fresh. And yet, reconstruction, particularly a transitional housing community built by CRS that we visited, demonstrate the resilience of these people and are a great sign of hope. Because of our early morning, I’ve decided to make this post a photo essay so I can go to sleep! I’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Coming in for a landing on the island of Leyte, one of the islands most devastated by Haiyan.

Coming in for a landing on the island of Leyte, one of the islands most devastated by Haiyan.

This airport, right on the ocean, was completely destroyed during Haiyan. It was amazing to land there, just two years later.

This airport, right on the ocean, was completely destroyed during Haiyan. It was amazing to land there, just two years later.

Residents of poor village impacted by Haiyan are proud to show off their new community latrine sponsored by CRS. Sanitation is a huge problem in the wake of disasters when poor sewage control means that flood waters are toxic and dangerous. In this community, situated in a no dwell zone on government land, the latrines help

Residents of poor village impacted by Haiyan are proud to show off their new community latrine sponsored by CRS. Sanitation is a huge problem in the wake of disasters when poor sewage control means that flood waters are toxic and dangerous. In this community, situated in a no dwell zone on government land, the latrines help

In the house that she and her family repaired piece by piece after Haiyan, Leonarda Mooney shows me how high the flood waters came.

In the house that she and her family repaired piece by piece after Haiyan, Leonarda Mooney shows me how high the flood waters came.

We visited a temporary settlement of shelters built by CRS. These shelters were given to families living in "no dwell zones" following the typhoon. The government is supposed to be providing a permanent shelter solution for these families. In the meantime, CRS provides these shelters, which the families own, that are designed to be easily disassembled so the families can take the materials with them when they leave. For two years, they finally are living in a regular housing situation, rather than being squatters on land they don't own.

We visited a temporary settlement of shelters built by CRS. These shelters were given to families living in “no dwell zones” following the typhoon. The government is supposed to be providing a permanent shelter solution for these families. In the meantime, CRS provides these houses, which the families own, designed to be easily disassembled so the families can take the materials with them when they leave. For two years, they can live in the security of knowing exactly what the terms are of the land they occupy. CRS is working with local government to make sure they are first in line for permanent housing when this two-year lease is up.

Throughout this community, smiling happy children were a welcome sight. Everywhere there were children playing and neighbors chatting. People said they loved their community.

Throughout this community, smiling happy children were a welcome sight. Everywhere there were children playing and neighbors chatting. People said they loved their community.

Volunteers manage this community's safety. These members of the security patrol were proud of their role and their new vests. CRS arranged for them to receive training from the Tacloban City Police force. Self-governance and policing is common in Philippines villages.

Volunteers manage this community’s safety. These members of the security patrol were proud of their role and their new vests. CRS arranged for them to receive training from the Tacloban City Police force. Self-governance and policing is common in Philippines villages.

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