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Typhoon Haiyan: Scenes of devastation, calls for help

By Anderson Cooper, Paula Hancocks and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
November 13, 2013 -- Updated 2002 GMT (0402 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A mother searches for the bodies of children swept away in the storm
  • "It's very traumatic. It's very hard," one survivor says
  • "My child has been buried," a man says
  • A woman says she was forced to give her family spoiled food

Tacloban, Philippines (CNN) -- Juvelyn Taniega walks down a desolate road and points toward the barren landscape where her home once stood.

When Typhoon Haiyan tore through Tacloban, she says, the house she lived in with her husband and six children was one of the first to fall down. They huddled inside a bus, seeking shelter from the storm surge.

She survived, but they were swept away in the rushing waters. Now, Taniega is searching for their remains.

"I really want to see them," she told AC360, "even if it's just their bodies."

Taniega found the bodies of her husband and three of her children. But she's still searching for three other children. She doesn't believe they survived the storm.

And she doesn't know where she'll sleep.

"Here, in the street," she said. "Anywhere. I don't know where I go."

In Tacloban, one of many cities dealing with death and destruction that Typhoon Haiyan left behind, survivors say there's nowhere left to go.

Haunted by the sounds of the storm

Days after the deadly typhoon struck, the sounds Jenelyn Manocsoc heard during the storm still haunt her.

"Many cries, many people crying," she said, sobbing. "Many people saying, 'help, help.' "

Amid the swirling, tugging waters, Manocsoc placed her 11-month-old son, Anthony, on her head. She hung on to the roof rafters to avoid being swept away.

They survived, but her husband and other relatives were killed in the storm. She doesn't know where she will go next, but at least she and her son are alive.

"It's very traumatic," she said, cradling Anthony in her arms. "It's very hard."

Looking for food

Authorities have said that supplies are on the way to some of the hardest-hit areas. But desperate residents told CNN affiliate ABS-CBN that time was running out.

"Our house got demolished," one woman told ABS-CBN. "My father died after being hit by falling wooden debris. We are calling for your help. If possible, please bring us food. We don't have anything to eat."

In the city of Palo on Leyte's eastern coast, another woman said she was struggling to feed her family, including a newborn.

"We took leftover rice from what was cooked, but even a dog probably wouldn't eat it because it was spoiled," she said. "We ate it anyway."

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'My child has been buried'

As they searched for loved ones lost in the storm, survivors asked for help.

One man told ABS-CBN he was still trying to find six family members.

"My child has been buried in that island," he said.

Another man begged for forgiveness because he couldn't save his daughter from the typhoon's wrath.

"We all got separated from each other when the strong waves hit," he told ABS-CBN. "We got separated. I couldn't even hold on to my child."

Awaiting relief

The residents of Guiuan have waited for days for relief.

The town of 50,000, the first to be hit by the typhoon, is a scene of utter devastation.

"Everything, everything's gone," one resident told CNN's Anna Coren, who traveled to the town on a Philippines air force C-130 relief flight. "So we need help."

'We need to survive'

Surrounded by rubble, children swarm around a public well in the storm-ravaged city of Tacloban, where bodies are still lying in the streets.

The children douse themselves with water and fill plastic cups and jugs.

"Even though we're not sure that it is clean and safe," Roselda Sumapit said, "we still drink it, because we need to survive."

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From mayor to 'ghost'

In a family resort in the hardest hit part of Tacloban, the storm surge smashed six-inch concrete walls like tissue paper.

As the waters rose there, Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez and others who were huddled inside the ballroom climbed into the ceiling, praying for survival.

Now residents of the city call him "The Ghost," because they thought he died in the storm.

"The waves just came so fast," Romualdez said. "But worse than that was the wind. The wind was just so strong that the visibility was about 10-15 feet. There's no way that you could even look, because it was so strong that it practically pulled out your eyes."

Now, he's left surveying the damage to his decimated city. He says if authorities had given a different sort of warning before the storm, comparing it to a tsunami instead of merely calling it a typhoon, more people may have survived.

"We've done drills on tsunami. And when we do (tsunami) drills, almost 80% of them really get out," he said. "Storm surge, they don't understand."

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'We could feel our ears popping'

Maelene Alcala heard wind banging on her Tacloban hotel room's windows as the storm hit.

"The typhoon was so severe that we could feel our ears popping," she told CNN's iReport.

It wasn't long before she heard banging again, this time on the door of the hotel. But the source of the sound was different. Desperate residents were looking for help.

"We let them in and saw children, women and men crying and telling (how) their houses were destroyed by the storm surge," she said.

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Prison inmates threaten breakout

A man stands on a rooftop, threatening to jump.

He is one of 672 inmates at a Tacloban prison, where food and water supplies ran out Monday.

Now, the prison's warden says the inmates have given him a warning, threatening a mass breakout in one or two days if they don't get food and water.

From the prison's rooftop, the inmate says he is devastated -- but he doesn't mention food or drink. He says he doesn't know what happened to his family during the storm.

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How to help

CNN's Anderson Cooper and Paula Hancocks reported from Tacloban. CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet wrote the story in Atlanta. CNN's Andrew Stevens, Sarah Brown, John Dear and David Simpson contributed to this report.

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