Tacloban resident's first-hand experience of surviving Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) - Civil Order Collapses Into Chaos FAST

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Poet's picture
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Tacloban resident's first-hand experience of surviving Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) - Civil Order Collapses Into Chaos FAST

This was shared on Reddit a few days ago. It is just incredible how fast civil order collapses into chaos. On Day 2, there are rapes and robberies. By Day 4, there are massacres of families by criminal gangs of looters and robbers.

Note that the word "kitten" has been used to substitute for all swear words originally written, so it does read a little odd.




Poet's picture
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Just a couple of quotes from

Just a couple of quotes from Day 2.

"After 2 blocks, saw another dead person, drowned again. And at the corner there was around 3 kids crying on top of 2 dead adult corpses, it was their parents, their parents held them high enough from the flood that they drowned in the process. After a few more walks, I noticed the death count wouldn't stop. A nearby village that's visible from the city was decimated by 3 huge vessels from out city's docks. They were carried by the waves and bulldozed the entire village of Anibong. San Jose(yes we have one in the Philippines)-where you can also find our region's only airport- was decimated, all of it, estimated dead just by the stormsurge was around 2,000."

"Magallanes, which is also another village near the sea was wiped out, another 1k+ dead. Our supposed evacuation center, which was NEXT to the OPEN SEA holding 2k people, was the most stupidest idea I have ever heard of an evacuation center EVER. Only 100+ people lived. Oh, 600 of the most hardcore rapists / murderers from our state prison were released(not a good idea at all, jump to day 4 news to know why)"


Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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thanks, Poet.

Dear God, that's horrible.

thc0655's picture
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First person reports

I value first person reports like this a great deal. Thanks for sharing, Poet. Even though the perspective is limited to that one person, I find I usually get accurate information unvarnished by an agenda.  This report reminds me HOW MUCH people in general want to believe the best about their neighbors and their collective future, even if it conflicts with the truth. I find even on this PP site, a lot of people don't want to think about or admit the depravity and violence of people in a disaster.  On PP we tend not to accept the rosy economic, energy and environmental predictions and perspectives offered to the masses, because we know better. However, we still too often accept the rosy predictions about the social chaos and violence the most likely awaits us in the future. 

The veneer of civilization and lawfulness is just that: a very thin cosmetic layer of goodness disguising a sea of evil and violence. People hesitate to prepare for crime and violence. They plan to get around to it later, definitely.  They debate the finer points (i.e. which pistol caliber is better, when they don't own or train with a firearm of any caliber) instead of taking concrete defensive measures now.  Like many here have grown weary trying to alert people to our looming Collapse, I've grown weary of trying to alert people to the very real dangers of crime and violence (even now before the Collapse). I haven't given up, but I pick my battles more carefully looking for an openness in somebody or a learning opportunity created by some horrific event (like this account from Tacloban).  The unfortunate truth is that the large majority are going to be caught unprepared and many will be ground up in the meat grinder.

I often wonder which is more startling: how wicked and violent people can be, or how clueless and steadfastly unprepared the sheeple can be.  Usually I'm most shocked by how wilfully unprepared people are to face violence and crime.

We need more of this: http://www.wilx.com/news/featured/headlines/Dangerous-Game---Point-em-Out-Knock-em-Out-231443411.html?device=phone

And less of this: http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/20/girl-who-got-punched-in-head-gives-lame-liberal-speech-humanizing-her-attackers-video/

"Welcome to the Hunger Games. And may the odds be ever in your favor."


ferralhen's picture
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tom i agree on all you wrote.


i agree on all you wrote. it needs to be said.  often.

lower economic class understand this  better than middle and upper class

i would add to balance the fear...that people who attack are also just  people.they are vulnerable too.

digging's picture
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I think this is a true

I think this is a true example of what kind of collapse comes to heavily populated unsustainable cities. Violence is rather similar to plagues, it spreads easily when the conditions are favorable. Having soooo many criminal minded people today is another toxic byproduct of industrial civilization. Having that jail opened is like having the reactors explode in Japan.....all of these.the toxic concentrations are more of the deeper threat we don't see at first.



thc0655's picture
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Effective, free mental preparation

This kind of exercise will help you prepare:


rdeslonde's picture
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fake story

Reading this story, it seems very fake. I reads like something you would get in some spam email from people who pretend to have real information.

Honestly, I get tired of these things. It's one thing to have a thought-exercise, but it's another to lie and say you have first-hand experience.

Do I know this is fake for sure? No. But it doesn't read like an email from someone from the phillipines, and especially one who just went through this experience. It has the cynicism of agenda...

Some examples:

"If you guys don't know, I'm from the Philippines, specifically Tacloban. Yes, the city that's in the headlines in news all over the globe."

That's a classic starter for a fake "report".

"neighbor's roof flew away like a child blowing a paper airplane on the palm of his hand."

Right, because recounting a traumatic experience like this is the time to wax poetic.

"sister tried to expend all her energy to pump up a queen sized inflatable bed so we could stay afloat if the flood went even higher, genius? lol NOT, debris will fuck the bed when it hits the water"

The tense of the last sentence sounds more like this is a thought-experiment...he doesn't say "debris fucked the bed when it hit the water", he said debris WILL fuck the bed WHEN it hits the water.

"And at the corner there was around 3 kids crying on top of 2 dead adult corpses, it was their parents, their parents held them high enough from the flood that they drowned in the process."

Yes, because that's a realistic scenario...2 adults holding 3 kids aloft in floods deep enough to kill the parents, but somehow the children miraculously survive.

I don't really need to continue. This is a fake report from someone who wanted to instill yet more fear.

And before you judge me as a "hater"...I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt a collapse is coming. I believe it will get shitty fast when people get hungry. I believe we will have a world-wide shitstorm. I just get tired of these fake "reports" and emails that when half-checked, don't check out.

You can't prove it's real, I can't prove it's fake...but for God's sake people...don't believe everything you read is real...especially some anonymous posting on reddit or somewhere else. Sheesh!

HughK's picture
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My wife worked in Tacloban and is from Region VIII of Phil.

Hi rdeslonde and all,

It may be that the particular story that you've critiqued was fake or partially fake, I don't know.  I can tell you that my wife is from Region VIII of the Philippines, the Eastern Visayas.  She grew up in Biliran Province and worked and resided in Tacloban City until April of this year.  Here are some things I can reliably tell you:

-Death toll estimates due to the typhoon center around just under 6,000 people in the Philippines. There are many many cases where family members lost other family members.

-There were dead bodies around for days

-The house where my wife lived had a meter of water inside of it.  It's at least 1 km from the ocean. All of the electronics of her landlord were destroyed.  Her landlord and landlady are now in Cebu to avoid the crime and dislocation, and some of her former housemates are now unemployed.  We watched video footage on international news of looting of both of the department stores where she used to work.

- Up to 140 prisoners who escaped during the typhoon are still at large in the area

-My wife's family has been without electricity now since the typhoon (5 weeks).  They pay someone in their village to recharge their cell phone on a generator.  Their cell service is very spotty now.

-The price of rice, other food staples, and fuel is at least 50% higher, and often much higher than that.

We will be in Region VIII in a couple of weeks, and so then I'll be able to tell you more, if you're interested in information about the region in the aftermath of the typhoon.



rdeslonde's picture
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thanks - much more believable

Hi Hugh,

Thanks. This is the kind of first hand report that I can believe and appreciate. No embellishment is needed to convey the horror of real life catastrophes. Definitely tell us more as you learn more.



Afridev's picture
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Putting things in perspective (by an aid worker)

I'd like to add to this story. Because we often only get the extreme and negative stories, and I think we have to put these in perspective.

I don't know if the story is true or not, it could be, but it doesn't reflect what I have seen.

I have worked 10 years for Doctors Without Borders. I did many 'missions' in disaster affected communities: tropical cyclone, flooding, earthquake, landslide, cholera epidemics, displacement caused by conflict. I have worked in Africa, Asia and Central America and what I saw almost everywhere is that in time of need there was actually a lot of solidarity in affected communities, a tremendous ingenuity, at times extraordinary leaders came forward, there was often an amazing (and at times surprising) generosity from persons. In Salvador in the earthquake of February 2001 it was difficult to reach health centres because so many people came in with their cars, parked on the side of the roads in the affected communities and started distributing soup and food. I have never seen a fall into violence, often to the contrary, In Somalia during floodings in 2006 people were displaced and living in dire conditions, but everything was calm (in the area where we were). The strength of people and communities affected were often surprising (I'll never forget a group of 7 Cuban doctors (again in El Salvador) whose hospital was severely affected by the earthquake, and while most of the normal staff were not there as they attended their loved ones, and trying to set up shelters, the Cubans had fixed the electricty in the hospital with the help of a generator, the water supply was kind of fixed, sanitation was working, they attended the wounded and the sick, helped people and neighbours (almost everything was flattened around the hospital), they had been at it for nearly 3 days with hardly any sleep or food, and they were joking and having the time of their life, a bit aided by a bottle of 'ron' (rum) that had survived the earthquake and that was passed around while they were trying to set up a wooden shelter...

It is also recognised in our sector that it is rare that disasters 'bring out the worst in people', see under http://www.who.int/hac/techguidance/ems/myths/en/

Does it never happen? I'm sure it does, if needs are huge, and have been for too long. If the difference between rich and poor (which often translates into the ones coping, and the ones not coping) are large and visible, if there has been animosity between groups in the past, if there are groups external to a community that enter (or there is no social cohesion in the community) if there is little perspective for improvement, if the wrong people are able to access weapons, if clans form, than you enter red zone...

I have seen enough trouble to not have a high opinion of humanity as a whole (and politicians (and administrators) in particular), but I have more often been surprised by strength, generosity, ingenuity, pride, and at times even good humour of people who have gone through very traumatic situations and were living in appalling conditions than the opposite. Disasters sometimes will bring out the worst in persons, but also (and from what I have seen) often the best... And I owe it to the people who showed this to try to put these kind of negative stories in perspective...


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