Daily Bruin sent a team of reporters to the Philippines to cover Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda recovery. Learn more about the project.

More to come in October

After more than two weeks reporting in the Philippines, our team is back in the United States.

We’ll be working on putting together a large package of work to share our reporting and tell the stories of the many people we met. The work will follow the UCLA student donations to Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda relief as well as the lives of people who were impacted by the storm.

The project will be published here in early October, so keep an eye out for more in the coming weeks.

Memories of Yolanda: Captain

In the Philippines, different districts or villages are called barangays, and each one has a chairman and a council who govern the goings-on within the community.

Gregorio Lantajo Jr. is the chairman or captain of the San Joaquin Barangay, which was hit hard by Typhoon Yolanda.

The storm caused several storm surges, which brought waves of water up to 20 feet high into the San Joaquin Barangay.

Lantajo recalls the chaos immediately following the typhoon, when the barangay was isolated from national and international aid and many people were still missing.

Fresh Food Near Ormoc City

The home-cooked Filipino meal was also homegrown.

Squash, okra and a spinach-like vegetable called kangkong sprouted out of neat rows and in terraced planters.

Stew made from homegrown vegetables and animals

Homegrown vegetables and animals raised on site make a hearty stew, one of many dishes, for Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Foundation volunteers. (Photo by Neil Bedi)

The pigsty was nearby, but it didn’t smell, and the pen of piglets was silent.

Everything but the noodles was grown on site at the Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Foundation farm.

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Memories of Yolanda: Twins

Mercy in Action midwives took their operation to Dulag, about an hour outside of Tacloban City, in order to help provide health care for pregnant women and babies immediately after Typhoon Yolanda.

Jenifer Bunquin, a midwife, recalls her surprise when a woman came in and unexpectedly delivered twins in the disaster zone.

Tacloban: A City Under Construction

Construction workers were rebuilding structures at almost every turn and at all hours of the day. Men worked by lamplight around 9 p.m. on a Sunday in Tacloban.

Some buildings were outfitted with temporary fixes. Tarps and plastic lean-tos shielded roofless buildings from the rain.

Workers construct permanent housing.

Workers construct permanent housing for displaced victims of Typhoon Yolanda. Many workers are displaced victims themselves, putting in required hours to obtain housing. (Photo by Neil Bedi)

The United Nations Refugee Agency, known by the acronym UNHCR, provided core relief items like blankets and tarps for Filipinos who lost their homes and possessions immediately after the storm. They showed us around three different areas of the city.

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Planes, Taxis, Jeepneys and Trikes

Traveling around a foreign country can be a little daunting.

The public transit system is confusing and intimidating. Even the airports are a bit unfamiliar.

People wait at a terminal in the Ninoy Aquino International Aiport

People wait at a terminal within the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for flights heading to Tacloban City. (Photo by Neil Bedi)

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First Destination: Mercy in Action

Trike ride to Mercy in Action

A driver’s son looks back at us during our trike ride to Mercy in Action’s Olongapo birthing home. (Photo by Neil Bedi)

To get to the natural birth clinic in Olongapo, we had to take two jeepneys and a trike.

Jeepneys are akin to tiny busses with no doors and are painted in bright colors. A lemon yellow jeepney carried us to the local market, where vendors were selling just-picked fruits, locally grown vegetables and freshly caught fish. This was the hub of life under the early morning sun.

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Wake of the Storm

Flight OZ703 landed in Manila on September 2, but in many ways our journey to the Philippines began months ago.

The strongest, most destructive typhoon since storm magnitude has been recorded made landfall in early November of 2013. The response on UCLA’s campus and around the world was immediate. Students raised $6,000 in donations over the next two months, through Bruin Walk collection jars and a benefit concert. Nations around the globe sent in supplies and aid workers to help the struggling Visayas in the aftermath of the disaster.

As Typhoon Yolanda (also known as Typhoon Haiyan outside of the Philippines) became a household name, even a world away on our campus, the magnitude of the story unfolding in the Philippines began to reveal itself.

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