Hope amidst the chaos

By Sandra Bulling

When Super Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on Friday, Lourdes Hermilda had been with her husband and two children, counting down the days until the birth of their new baby, and hoping the storm wouldn’t be as bad as predicted. But within minutes, the world changed: terrifying wind from one of the worst storms on record tore buildings to shreds, and a massive storm surge wiped out entire houses – and hospitals.

Lourdes was separated from her husband and children. On Friday night, in the dark and in the rain, she went into labour, alone.

She made it to the hospital, but it was closed – damaged by the storm.

She managed to walk to the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, an evacuation centre where more than 300 people had taken shelter from the storm, and which had thankfully survived the worst of the disaster. At the entrance to the church, and with help from people inside, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

She named her Yolanda – the local name for the typhoon.

Lourdes found her husband and two other children, and they are now staying in the church with dozens of other families who also lost their homes. They hope to travel to Ormoc City, where they have family, and where aid is slowly starting to arrive by boat.

Lourdes says that they want to leave Tacloban because there is nothing left for them there. But amidst the ruins of their city, where thousands of people are estimated to have died, baby Yolanda is a small sign of hope.

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