The tragic stories and devastating images from the Philippines following Super Typhoon Haiyan are inescapable, but in the aftermath there are also stories of hope, determination, courage, and kindness. Here are some of them.
The New Mother: Emily Sagalis
Super typhoon Haiyan killed her friends and family, along with thousands of Filipinos who live on Leyte Island — the part of the Philippines that received the full force of the storm — but Emily Sagalis, who was pregnant, and her husband, Jobert, were determined not to let the storm take their unborn child's life. "She is my miracle. I had thought I would die with her still inside me when high waves came and took us all away," Sagalis told the AFP. Sagalis, with blood trickling down her legs and hobbled after being swept by Haiyan's storm surge, found her way to the care of military doctors on November 11 and delivered her daughter Bea Joy.
The Normal Guy: Jonathan Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick was doing what any normal person would do when the storm hit — he barricaded himself in his hotel room at the Ormoc Villa Hotel and was going to wait the storm out with his four coworkers. What he did next, his family says was also normal ... for him. As the storm grew worse, the hotel's walls began to give way and families in his hotel became trapped. So Fitzpatrick and his friends began kicking down doors and shuttling people to the safety of the hotel's stairwell. "He was not a hero, just working on his human instinct. In his eyes he has not done anything heroic, he has done normal things ... The real heroes are the people out there sorting out this mess now, providing care, food and water," his mother told Sky News.
The Reporter: Atom Araullo
Weather reporters never get the credit they deserve. Each time a storm hit, they're the journalists who become fodder for blooper reels, because you try not looking awkward in the middle of a hurricane. Araullo changed that. The local weatherman was in the middle of Haiyan and on the ground at Tacloban City, a town of 200,000 that's been reduced to wet rubble. "At one point he was walking down on the street–his pants hiked up to his knees and without shoes–talking about the situation on the ground while rain was pouring," The Epoch Times wrote. In risking his life to report the story, Araulllo has become a symbol of resilience and sacrifice to Filipinos. Communication with Araullo has been limited — as is the situation in Tacloban— but his news agency, ABS-CBN, said he survived the storm.
Of course, these are by no means the only stories of recovery and survival and as communications are slowly restored to the region, there are sure to be other heroes that we'll learn about. We'll add their stories to this post as more are found.
The relief effort has begun, and Filipinos are helping Filipinos. On an international level, countries have already pledged to help — the U.S. has already offered $20 million and an aircraft carrier is on its way. Meanwhile, Filipinos living in other nations are orchestrating fundraising events to raise money for organizations like the Red Cross. The New York Times has a good round of ways that American can help.