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Surviving Typhoon Haiyan: "I Needed to Find My Family a Safe Place."

A father from Tacloban recounts his journey to reunite with his family in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
Sam Mutthar, left, and his wife, center, sit with their family and friends at Tacloban airport. Photo: ACF-Philippines, Daniel Burgui Iguzkiza
Sam Mutthar, left, and his wife, center, sit with their family and friends at Tacloban airport. Photo: ACF-Philippines, Daniel Burgui Iguzkiza

“I was really scared,” says Sam Mutthar, a 56-year-old father from Tacloban. He was in Singapore when he got the news that the deadly Typhoon Haiyan had hit the Philippines.

Finding his family

Scared for his wife and children, who were caught in the deadly storm, Sam returned to the Philippines as soon as he could. He describes his arduous journey home:  

"Finding gasoline for the car was difficult. Many roads were cut off, and I was afraid that would stop me from getting home. As I approached the city, I could not even recognize the buildings as they used to be.” 

- Sam Mutthar, 56, Typhoon Haiyan survivor, Tacloban

Sam’s first priority was locating his family, which proved incredibly difficult in the chaos. Eventually, he was able to find his wife and children. Thankfully, they had survived, but their home had been destroyed. Sam knew that their situation was very serious: without food, clean water, and medical care, his family was in danger of getting very sick. He says, "I needed to find my family a safe place." 

Determined to get help, Sam gathered together a group of twenty family members and neighbors and brought them to Tacloban airport. Here, his family, along with thousands of other families who were also displaced by the typhoon, are now receiving critical emergency aid. 

Bravery in the face of tragedy

As Sam sits in the shade of the airport with his wife, his children, and their neighbors, he smiles. Though Typhoon Haiyan has taken nearly everything from him, it has given him something, too: a sense of pride in his community, and especially in his children. He recalls how his sons, after seeing others in their neighborhood struggling in the flood waters, bravely dove in to help rescue them:  

"I'm very proud of my children. My boys are good swimmers, so they tried to rescue others. When I saw that they were trying to help save other people who were trapped in the floods, I saw in them the strong spirit of our people."

- Sam Mutthar, 56, Typhoon Haiyan survivor, Tacloban

Sam’s family and community have shown incredible strength and resilience in the face of this terrible disaster. With your support, our emergency response teams in Tacloban and other hard-hit areas of the Philippines can provide assistance for thousands more families like his.

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About Brianna Collins

Brianna Collins

Brianna leads our web and print design team, and helps to tell Action Against Hunger's story across multiple channels. Connect with Brianna on Google+

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