Below are some of the questions GoAbroad.com asked Sebastian Makinson, who was interning at the GoAbroad Philippines office at the time of the storm. To read his Full Interview with GoAbroad, visit the GoAbroad Blog.
How did local Filipinos prepare? Did they heed the warnings or did they think it would be more like the two dozen other storms that hit the country every year?
Nobody prepared nearly as much as they should have, those who did prepare, prepared as if it were any other typhoon. To be fair, there is no way anyone could have known how to properly prepare for a storm like this since there has never been a storm like this. There were many Filipinos who had no idea there was even a storm coming. The Philippine government did a poor job at preparation and did not properly inform many of the Filipinos.
Describe when the storm hit. Where were you? How did you protect yourself?
I was asleep in my apartment when the storm first hit, we moved and prepared on the second floor since we figured there would be flooding. The power shutting off is what woke me up. We moved downstairs when our roof started coming off and bunkered down until we started pulling people in from the storm.
When was the moment you realized the true severity of the situation and that it really was going to be as bad as the predictions?
About an hour into the storm when my roof started coming off I had the sudden realization that this storm would be worse than we ever could have imagined.
How did you pull people in from the street? Did you go out into the storm and offer protection or did people come to you? How many Filipinos did you take into your home?
We went out in the storm but only a few feet from our door. When the storm was about at its strongest we barely stepped a foot from the door because it was just too dangerous. It was mostly other Filipinos going out to save their families. By the end of the morning, there were 40 to 45 people in our little apartment.
How long was the storm?
The storm, from when I no longer felt safe going outside to when I finally felt safe going out again, was almost six hours.
What did you do afterwards? Where did you go? Was your house intact at all?
After the storm we fed and clothed whatever refugees were in our apartment and after they all trickled out we packed up whatever we could carry and headed for the GoAbroad office. Our house had lost its roof, but other than that, it was in very good condition considering. Two lovely Filipina ladies were so grateful we pulled them in from the storm and fed them that they even cleaned our floor.
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