In pictures: Davao Oriental in ruins after Typhoon Bopha


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Typhoon Bopha/Pablo

In the early hours of December 4, Typhoon Bopha, known locally as Pablo, began its rampage across the Philippines on the island of Mindanao. The Category 5 Super Typhoon was the worst seen in some parts of the country for 100 years. Entire communities were flattened, along with acres and acres of crops. The death toll currently stands at more than 1,000 — and it's rising every day. With winds of up to 260kmh, the devastation dwarfed that caused by Tropical Storm Washi, named locally as Pablo, one year earlier.

In the wake of Bopha, I travelled to Mindanao on December 6 to give communications support to my colleagues at Plan Philippines. My job was to get materials — photos, videos, stories, quotes — to show the world what had happened there and to support Plan's drive to raise funds for the emergency response. With the emergency response team, I spent about a week primarily in Baoston, Cateel and Baganga on the east coast of Davao Oriental province — one of the hardest-hit regions.

All along the coast, nearly every house was in ruins. Schools were destroyed. People were becoming desperate for food, water, clothing, shelter and medicine. Families who had lost everything were sheltering anywhere they could. Severe gashes and bruises were going untreated as the hospitals had been ripped apart. Children were holding their hands out on the side of the road, begging for food and supplies. Trucks carrying relief items were mobbed by hungry families. There was no power and no phone service.

The situation in eastern Mindanao is hard to put into words. It's extremely bad and is going to take a huge aid response and years of work for the affected communities to return to some semblance of normalcy. Plan was one of the first aid orgnisations to get into the communities in Boston, Cateel and Baganga and the first phase of the emergency response is now in full swing.  While I was in the area, I took a lot of photos. Here are a select few. Click the images to go to bigger versions.

 

Lucila Castro points to the spot where she and 18 others sheltered from the storm in Cateel.
Lucila Castro points to the spot where she and 18 others sheltered from the storm in Cateel.

 

Juneben, 5, is happy he managed to save one of his books from Typhoon Bopha. His family's house was destroyed.
Juneben, 5, is happy he managed to save one of his books from Typhoon Bopha. His family's house was destroyed.

 

Boys play basketball by the side of the road in Boston municipality.
Boys play basketball by the side of the road in Boston municipality.

 

Children play on a damaged pedicab bike in the grounds of Saint James' Parish, Cateel.
Children play on a damaged pedicab bike in the grounds of Saint James' Parish, Cateel.

 

Clothes hung out to dry in Baganga.
Clothes hung out to dry in Baganga.


A view of the street in central Cateel.
A view of the street in central Cateel.
Pastor Leonil Juanillo stands in front of the ruins of the Southern Baptist Church in Cateel.
Pastor Leonil Juanillo stands in front of the ruins of the Southern Baptist Church in Cateel.
One of the classrooms at Baganga National High School.
One of the classrooms at Baganga National High School.
A family lives in a makeshift shelter after their house in Baganga was wrecked.
A family lives in a makeshift shelter after their house in Baganga was wrecked.
Looking out across the destruction from a hillside in Baganga.
Looking out across the destruction from a hillside in Baganga.
Figurines in the shell of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Lambajon, Baganga.
Figurines in the shell of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Lambajon, Baganga.
Adora Quirante, 21, mother of 6-month-old Aj, from San Antonio village in Cateel. The baby is getting sick and the family is in need of food.
Adora Quirante, 21, mother of 6-month-old Aj, from San Antonio village in Cateel. The baby is getting sick and the family now without a home to call their own, are in need of food.
John Harold Morales, 8, and brothers Joshua, 3, and Mark John, 5, stand in the middle of what was once their house.
John Harold Morales, 8, and brothers Joshua, 3, and Mark John, 5, stand in the middle of what was once their house.
The Philippine national flag still flies at the Cateel Central Elementary School.
The Philippine national flag still flies at the Cateel Central Elementary School.

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