Day five, 13 November 2013 and we heard the news that we had been waiting for. Even though we had heard a bit of good news, the phone lines were still down and we had not spoken to anyone in our family. We had heard stories on the news and social media that there was no aid getting to Sulangan because the road was full of debris and because the village is at the tip of the island, there was no emergency aid reaching them. There were stories of looting in the town of Guiuan and panic had set in, so much so that trucks carrying relief were getting held up. This was not because of violent people but because of hungry and desperate people.
After about 11 days we had heard some devastating news that my mum’s Uncle was unfortunately a victim of Typhoon Haiyan. His name appeared on a casualties list along with three others from Sulangan.
As the days continued to pass, we still had no contact and we were unsure as to whether or not aid was reaching the village of Sulangan, not just food but water too and medical supplies.
After two weeks, we as a family made the decision to go to Sulangan. The phone lines were still down and the question of our relatives surviving Typhoon Haiyan was no longer on our minds, but surviving the aftermath was.
I took emergency leave from law school and my brother took leave from work. We left England on the 6 December 2013, and our parents would follow two weeks later. Not having a full proof plan or any definite contact when we got there, all we knew is that we were going to help.
We spent five days in Manila gathering relief, from canned goods to toothbrushes to footwear and transported this in the under carriage of a coach, so that it would not be discovered by potential looters. Once we had loaded the hundreds of goods into the coach, we then made our way to Sulangan.
This was our journey and our trip of a lifetime…
By Jessica King