Seaman recalls horrors of ‘Yolanda’ while at ship
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A young seaman from Davao who survived inside the MV Gayle cargo ship at the height of the typhoon recounted how the waves, several times bigger than their ship, battered them at the height of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
The force of the waves was so strong that it broke the ship’s fiberglass window before slamming it against other ships anchored off Tacloban, lifting them and finally slamming them to dry land.
Joey, who did not want his family name disclosed, said he was still dealing with the trauma of the event and could still not believe he survived.
He told Teresita Pioncio, social welfare officer 1 at the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO), that his fingers were cut by a slamming door when he tried to close it against the fierce, howling wind at the height of the typhoon.
He said his two fingers were already stitched back together by doctors in Tacloban in the aftermath of the typhoon but that one of the fingers has turned black. He is worried it might have to be cut off.
Joey was among the first 72 typhoon survivors to have reached Davao from Tacloban on Monday.
He recalled that MV Gayle, a ship carrying cargo from Cebu, arrived in Tacloban on Oct. 31. When news of the typhoon came, they were not allowed to dock directly at the port, because it was “more dangerous.”
“Strong winds may slam the ship against the dock, causing irreparable damage,” he explained.
Joey, a graduate of BS in Marine Transportation, and was only in his fourth month working as deck cadet for the ship, said nothing could have prepared him for the wind that was so strong and fierce like the one that Yolanda packed.
“The wind was very strong at a 12 a.m. but it got stronger at 7 a.m. The waves grew higher than our ship, and our ship was big,” he said.
He said all crew had prepared for the worst as they wore their life jackets.
“I carefully put my ID (identification card) inside my pocket, hoping I would be identified in case I die,” Joey recounted.
The last thing he found out was that they were no longer at sea because the waves—which went past the port—had brought them to land, albeit violently.
Joey’s cousin, who worked for a sister ship, also anchored at Tacloban sea, was not as lucky.
Joey said looters wiped out food supplies in Tacloban in the aftermath of the supertyphoon.
He said looters—some of whom were armed with machetes—even forced them to abandon ship.
He described the aftermath of Yolanda as total chaos as people were willing to kill so they could eat.
Joye said he was glad to be finally home but he worries for those left behind.
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