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Charlene, Typhoon Survivor: We Need Food and Water

Charlene, 19, stands with her aunts amid the debris where her house once stood.
Charlene, 19, stands with her aunts amid the debris where her house once stood.
The kitchen counter is the only structure from her home left standing.
The kitchen counter is the only structure from her home left standing.
November 22, 2013

Although Charlene's home was made entirely out of brick, it could not withstand the force of Typhoon Haiyan. The only recognizable structure that has been left standing is their kitchen counter.

She now shares a temporary shelter with her family and six other families while her mother, who suffers from breast cancer, is receiving treatment in Manila.

Although Charlene's situation has been difficult, she remains focused on staying strong for her family. This is her story...


My family and I hid in the laboratory building the day the typhoon hit the mainland—it was really scary. Early in the morning, everyone in my neighborhood gathered in the building and in only a few minutes, the second floor was packed. We didn’t have time to grab our things, so all I had was the clothes I was wearing and a pair of shoes. We didn’t know if we were going to make it. My hands were shaking, so I held my father tight. It didn’t take long for the big typhoon to wipe everything away.

I am now living in a temporary plastic shelter with my dad, aunts, brothers, and six other families who lived in my neighborhood. People are starting to get sick. All we need right now are clothes, food, water and medicine.

I miss my mom. However, I don’t want her to be here if she is safe where she is. I will stay in Tacloban waiting for my house to be restored. Tacloban is home. I don’t want to go anywhere else.

I know I wasn’t the only one affected by the typhoon. I am praying everyday for other survivors. We all need to stay strong and we will get through this together. I also pray for myself. I am looking forward to going back to school and to normality again.

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