Philippines news: Christmas in mud as rain pours on typhoon survivors – The survivors of Typhoon Haiyan spent a gloomy Christmas Day inside their flimsy shelters surrounded by mud as heavy rains pelted the area, dampening efforts to retain some holiday cheer in the devastated region.
In the typhoon-racked city of Tacloban, children in plastic raincoats went around in the rain knocking on doors in Halloween trick-or-treat fashion and pleading with pedastrians for candies, coins, or other Christmas presents, said reports.
The November 8 disaster killed over 6,100 people and left nearly 2,000 others missing, many of them from Tacloban and nearby towns, in the Philippines’ deadliest typhoon on record.
Some 4.4 million others were left homeless, and now live in tents provided by aid agencies or shacks put up by survivors from the wreckage of destroyed homes and fallen trees.
Emiliana Aranza, a 67-year-old widow, told AFP “It’s a sad Christmas Day. We have lost our home and the government will not allow us to rebuild here, as it’s too close to the shore”.
But in spite of living together in a cramped shanty with her two adult children and their 13 sons and daughters, she looked on the positive side, thanking God that they survived the disaster.
And she added, “Because of the typhoon, members of my family are now tightly knit. Gone are the petty quarrels”.
Housewife Susan Scala said her family ate a traditional Christmas Eve midnight meal, as is customary in the mostly Catholic nation, but had to serve tinned sardines and steamed rice, which she gets as part of the weekly rations provided by the Philippine government and humanitarian relief agencies, said a Channel News Asia report.
Her family ate the leftovers on Christmas Day, she said, and would have instant noodles for lunch.
She said she has no idea where she will get the money to build a new house or whether she will be able to send her children back to school.