Survivors describe ordeal amid 20-foot surge from typhoon


Associated Press

Posted on November 11, 2013 at 8:03 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 8:33 AM

TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) — Survivors of the typhoon that may have killed 10,000 people in the Philippines are describing being swept away by a 20-foot storm surge.

A 19-year-old student in the hardest-hit city, Tacloban (tahk-LOH'-bahn), says he tried to ride out the storm in his home with his ailing father, but the storm surge carried the building away. Marvin Daga says they clung to each other while the house floated, but it eventually crumbled and they fell into the churning waters. He says his father slipped out of his grasp and sank -- and that he's not expecting to find him alive.

Larry Womack and his wife Bobbie, American missionaries from Tennessee, have lived in Tacloban for a long time. Womack says he chose to stay at their beachside home, only to find the storm surge engulfing it. He survived by climbing onto a beam in the roof that stayed attached to a wall. Womack says, "There were actual waves going over my head."

Even people who fled to evacuation shelters found that they weren't safe. A 21-year-old woman who was about to give birth was in an evacuation center that was devastated by the storm surge. She had to swim and cling to a post to survive -- eventually reaching safety at the airport, where she gave birth to a baby girl. The baby, Bea Joy Sagales, appeared to be in good health. Her arrival drew applause from others in the airport, and military medics who helped in the delivery.

%@AP Links

139-w-27-(Ed Donahue, AP correspondent, with sound of storm vicitms from the airport in Taclovan)--There were some brief cheers in the Philippines -- a baby was born amid the typhoon debris. The AP's Ed Donahue reports. (11 Nov 2013)

<<CUT *139 (11/11/13)££ 00:27

GRAPHICSBANK: Survivors pass by two large boats after they were washed ashore by strong waves caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines, on texture, with lettering, SUPER TYPHOON HAIYAN, finished graphic (11 Nov 2013)

APPHOTO XBM109: New-born baby Bea Joy is held as mother Emily Ortega, 21, bottom, rests after giving birth at an improvised clinic at Tacloban airport Monday Nov. 11, 2013 in Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines. Bea Joy was named after her grandmother Beatrice, who was missing following the onslaught of typhoon Haiyan. Ortega was in an evacuation center when the storm surge hit and flooded the city. She had to swim to survive before finding safety at the airport. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) (11 Nov 2013)

<<APPHOTO XBM109 (11/11/13)££

APPHOTO XBM132: Residents queue up to receive treatment and relief supplies at Tacloban airport Monday Nov.b11, 2013, following Friday's typhoon Haiyan that lashed this city and several provinces in central Philippines. Typhoon-ravaged Philippine islands faced an unimaginably huge recovery effort that had barely begun Monday, as bloated bodies lay uncollected and uncounted in the streets and survivors pleaded for food, water and medicine. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) (11 Nov 2013)

<<APPHOTO XBM132 (11/11/13)££