In the Philippine Ruins, Improvised Christmas Trees

A touching nod to tradition amid tragedy

In the Philippines, where super typhoon Haiyan killed more than 5,000 people and reduced countless homes to rubble, every day brings dozens of heartbreaking images. I've surveyed them several times during recovery efforts, but haven't found anything to say. Then I unexpectedly came across the images that follow after searching "Christmas" on the Reuters photo wire, expecting anything but tragedy.

In the face of tragedy, these people are improvising Christmas trees:

They are not alone:

The holiday approaches, and people are moved to do the best that they can to mark it:

Some are more traditional than others:

All are heartbreaking and inspiring:

We're seeing only the examples international photographers happened to capture:

I hope there are many more.

Presented by

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Global

Just In