Return to Transcripts main page


Special Coverage Of Super Typhoon Haiyan

Aired November 12, 2013 - 08:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, HOST: Welcome everyone to a special edition of News Stream. I'm Michael Holmes at the CNN Center. Kristie Lu Stout is in Manila in the Philippines and will join us shortly.

Meanwhile, desperation mounting as relief workers try to reach remote areas of the Philippines, but with roads blocked, communications down, food and water running out. There are fears that help could arrive too late for many.

Meanwhile, a rush to get out of the disaster zone, but space is limited, the lines are long.

And new life in the midst of death: one woman's terrifying journey ends with the birth of her child.

They are desperate people living in desperate times. It is now four days since Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines killing hundreds of people leaving tens of thousands searching for the basic necessities of life: food, shelter and clean water. People are now scavenging through the rubble for anything they can find. Even though aid is arriving in the worst hit coastal city of Tacloban, distribution is slow because roads are still blocked by debris.

The UN refugee agency now estimates more than 800,000 people have been displaced. Officials fear the situation could turn into a severe health crisis and disease could break out. Bodies are still rotting in the streets.

The grief is overwhelming. With communication still patchy, some survivors are asking the media to tell far away family members their worst news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): I'm just letting you know, Josie is gone. Please forgive me, I couldn't save her, because we all got separated from each other when the strong waves hit. We got separated. I couldn't even hold on to my child. My wife's over there. Josie is on the corner. Her body has been there three days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): I haven't found my father until now. There are six of them that couldn't be found. My child has been buried in that island.

To the mother of my kids who's currently living in Virginia, I know that you'll watch this: Justin and Ella are gone. They are both dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (subtitles): Don't worry, Yong, all of your siblings and your mother and father are alive except for three of uni (ph) -- one of my siblings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (subtitles): Brother, you know, Jonalyn last Saturday night had a baby, by the grace of God. We haven't had much to eat. Father, if you are watching this, if you can, please, I'm begging you, I haven't had any to eat. There isn't any food, just all water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (subtitles): Our house got demolished. 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (subtitles): There aren't any medicinal supplies coming for us over here. What can we do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (subtitles): There's no more food even and all our kids are now getting sick. My son is crying asking for milk.


HOLMES: It is just heartbreaking, difficult to listen to. People truly, truly desperate.

Let's go live now to the Philippine capital. Kristie Lu Stout, I mean, it really is just heartrending to listen to those people giving such horrible news to people so far away. And the situation continues to be dire there on the ground.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it was just gut-wrenching to listen to that testimony on the ground. It has been four days since the super typhoon made landfall and the situation remains ever, ever desperate. Survivors are still waiting just for the basic necessities. They're waiting for food. Clean water to drink, medicine, shelter. And do you know what, Michael, four days really is the limit for people to withstand starvation, to be able to withstand thirst or injury without treatment. So really time is of the essence here.

Now the aid, it continues to trickle in only just, but we're seeing the pace to quicken just a little bit. We know that ships are on the way from the UK and the U.S. These are navy ships to assist with the relief effort. And the United states is sending over an air craft carrier, the USS George Washington, from Hong Kong. And that's going to be very critical just to scale up the air relief operation.

Now my colleague Ivan Watson, he's on the ground in Cebu City. He's closely watching the relief operation, how it's been mobilized there. He joins me now live.

And Ivan, what have you seen today.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, you know the aid effort was complicated further by the tropical depression that blew through dumping rain on communities that were completely destroyed more than four days ago by this super typhoon.

We're hear at the military air base outside Cebu, which is the main logistical hub for trying to get aid with the Philippines air force to, in particular, the airstrip, the devastated airport in the shattered city of Tacloban.

We've seen Philippines air force C-130 transport plans landing here met and on the tarmac by ambulances where wounded people have been taken off who have been evacuated from the storm zone. Take a listen to what a spokesman for the Philippines air force had to say about how they're trying to prioritize the wounded.


LT. COL. MARCIANO GUEVARA, SPOKESMAN, PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE: We have air (inaudible) the much needed medical treatment for immediate victims of the typhoon coming from Tacloban. And some who are needed to need medical attention and checkup, we bring them in.

There are about 1,000 victims, but we have to sort the victims accordingly like the much needed medical treatment for elderly and children and as well as the stranded victims in the area.


WATSON: Now, Kristie, the C-130s they fly out of here loaded with aid for the storm zone. And they come back in some cases with wounded survivors. But, get this, there are only three, three C-130s that the Philippine air force has to do this monumental mission flying to not only Tacloban, a city of more than 200,000 inhabitants that's been virtually destroyed, but other communities in the neighboring island of Samar as well. Even a civilian like me knows that just not enough.

We've seen C-130s coming in from Taiwan today carrying aid. As you mentioned, the militaries, the navies from the U.S. and Britain, they're also coming to contribute. But you get the sense that this monumental operation that needs to be put in place, the pieces are only just starting to come together here -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, Ivan, it's absolutely startling to learn that, that the Philippines air force only has three C-130 planes to help with this relief effort. And where you are in Cebu City is very critical since it is the closest functioning airport to hard hit Tacloban City.

Now is it the case, Ivan, that could more aircraft be dispatched from other nations perhaps to Cebu City and assist in this effort? Or can the airport not handle any more aircraft at this moment?

WATSON: It's a good question. And the air force personnel that I've talked to here they say that they have not yet welcomed other foreign planes aside from one U.S. Marine plane that arrived to kind of do some reconnaissance a day or so ago at Tacloban.

Another limiting factor here. In addition to the storm and the weather today, is the fact that there are no functioning lights at Tacloban. So that means that the planes can really only operate from that airport from dawn to dusk. And that is also an extremely limiting factor.

Of course, there are helicopters moving back and forth. And it's very important to note that the navy has been brought in to play. And that theoretically greatly increases the amount of cargo that can be moved back and forth with navy ships coming in.

And we've seen the Philippine armed forces say that they're going to welcome evacuees on a vessel that's expected to hit Tacloban some time on Wednesday.

This is an island nation, thousands and thousands of islands. It's not easy to get around, especially after a super typhoon comes out and knocks out the already not very strong infrastructure on some of these islands, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Ivan Watson reporting live for us from Cebu City with some very critical insight there. Thank you very much indeed for that Ivan.

As Ivan was saying, I mean, right now because it's night time there in Tacloban City, the airport is functioning, but not at night, because there is no power to light up the runways. And the need on the ground is immense.

According to the Philippines government, more than 9 million people have been affected, 600,000 people have been displaced. The death toll around 10,000.

Now Paula Hancocks, she's on the ground there in Tacloban City. And she reports on scenes of utter devastation and catastrophe there. And this report, the images, I have to warn you, are very difficult to watch.



PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This sign refers to a very different time. Now all that greets visitors on the road to Tacloban is devastation.

(on camera): Three days on since the storm itself, there are still bodies by the side of the road. Now, we can't show you the faces of these bodies. It's just too graphic. You can still see the terror as the wave hit on the faces of these bodies.

And they're still here three days on. Some of them are crudely covered. Other are just open and have blackened skin from the sun. Now, the officials say they're looking at the living, which is what you would understand, but they have to get rid of the bodies. This is a health issue for those people living and trying to survive around here.

The stench is overpowering. And, of course, they have to start considering disease. This is the Tacloban convention center. We're told by the locals that a lot people came in here to try and protect themselves from the storm. But as you can see, the water reached the second story. And the locals say that anyone on the ground floor not expecting this storm surge simply didn't make it.

(voice-over): Many residents used this school as a shelter from the storm, but the water engulfed it. This resident says a lot of children died in here. Only a few managed to survive. No one knows how many lost their lives. Down the road, a public well is being put to use.

ROSELDA STUMAPIT, VICTIM: Right now, we don't have enough water. Even though we are not sure that it's clean and safe, we still drink from it because we need to survive.

HANCOCKS: We see just two trucks in two hours making their very slow way into the city at the heart of desperation.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Tacloban, the Philippines.


LU STOUT: And more rain is adding to the misery there for the survivors on the ground, Tacloban City. And on top of that, reports of an earthquake in hard hit Bohol Island. Let's get the details now on both situations with our Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's really terrible, all of these things happening all at once.

I want to show you something, Kristie, before we go onto the weather, because I just heard Paula mention this in her report. And I wanted to show it to you. The page behind me is And you can go there and look at this yourself, but this is really amazing. This is that convention center, the one building that survived the storm. And it's really amazing. This is the before picture, slide it across and here's the after. This is really amazing.

There's the halfway point right there. You can see on the left the before on the right, the after. And we saw it up close in Paula Hancocks reports just a moment ago. And look at the palm trees just snapped in half.

The building itself looked like it did pretty well for the -- you know, considering the wind, but of course right on the water as it is the storm surge, again, a killer in this particular case.

Anyway, let's move on. While I'm here, I'm going to go ahead and show you the epicenter of that earthquake that you mentioned. This is on Bohol Island. Right there you see it. 4.5, it's one of the stronger aftershocks that we've had since the 7.2 quake that struck this very same area back on December 15.

There were no reports of damage or injuries from this particular shaking of the ground, but of course people's nerves on edge to say the very, very least rattling some nerves across that region.

And so here's the -- what was a tropical depression. Now it's been downgraded yet again. You can see the moisture moving right across the central portion of the Philippines, those very same areas, Kristie, that were affected by the super typhoon and by the earthquake. You know, even before the super typhoon happened there were -- the UN had said that there 300,000 people that were living in shelters across the Philippines because of the earthquake and the other storms that they had.

So here's the moisture still moving right across. Places like Tacloban all the way back over even into Elu Elu (ph), they're still getting some rain associated with this weather system.

And notice back over here, still about 80 millimeters of rain still possible for you in Tacloban proper. That's pretty significant rainfall. And you mentioned also the daylight hours, which is when they can operate those airports.

Well, that's about 12 hour time frame, because the sun rises about 5:30 in the morning and sets before 5:30 in the afternoon. So those 12 hours, dawn to dusk is when they can operate. If you have rain and you have weather problems, it does complicate things a little bit more.

We're expecting this to continue moving on. And tomorrow should be a better day. And Thursday, the end of the week and Friday, temperatures go up and that's going to be a problem also for survivors.

So something else to consider in the next couple of days. Back to you.

LU STOUT: That's right, problem for the survivors, a problem for relief workers and for those who are trying to, as you mention, make the Tacloban city airport functional on a 24 hour basis.

Mari Ramos there, thank you so much.

And let's go back to my colleagues Michael Holmes -- Michael.

HOLMES: Kristie, we'll check in with you later. Thanks so much Kristie Lu Stout there in Manila.

Now if you want to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, and many of you have indicated you do, you can start by logging on to our website. There is a list there of reputable charities. We have vetted them. You know your money will be put to good use. You can learn about the work that they're doing on the ground as well. That is

Now, when we come back. International aid efforts ramping up. The arrival of Japanese medics in Tacloban. Also, the anguish of expat Filipinos still waiting for word about friends and family caught up in the storm zone.

And in the most difficult of conditions, that new life, the miraculous birth of baby B. That story also still to come here on News Stream.


HOLMES: Well, governments around the world are offering help to the Philippines, although as we saw before the break so little of that aid is actually getting to those who need it at the moment. The Unite States has pledged $20 million, Australian has pledged $10 million.

Today, thousands of sailors who are part of the USS George Washington strike group, which had been in port in Hong Kong left there bound for the Philippines accompanied by cruisers, including the USS Antietam seen right there on your screen.

Also, troops on the ground in hard hit Tacloban. The marines are there.

Japanese medical experts also have started arriving in Tacloban. Japan giving $10 million in aid. Dozens of other nations are sending help. The United Kingdom, for example, is donating about $16 million. It, too, has deployed a navy ship.

The European Union increasing support to $17 million. Several EU nations also sending search and rescue teams.

The United Nations has launched an urgent appeal for $300 million for members to help the victims of Haiyan.

And China says it's going to give $100,000 towards relief efforts along with $100,000 through the Chinese Red Cross.

A pro-government English language newspaper says Beijing, however, should be donating more. The opinion piece in the global times says this, quote, a twisted relationship between the two countries caused by maritime disputes is not the reason to block joint efforts to combat natural disaster. It also adds, quote, "current island disputes are only a brief moment of history. It deserves our serious attention, but shouldn't stop us from doing what is necessary," unquote.

All right, let's go back to Manila now. Kristie Lu Stout is there with the latest. The back view, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Michael. Thank you very much indeed for that. I'm glad you mentioned that aid appeal that was issued out earlier today by the United Nations. Asking for $301 million. It really underscores just the scale of this crisis and the scale of the need on the ground. It was just a day after the super typhoon made landfall when the government of the Philippines made that urgent international appeal for aid and was almost immediately answered by the United States.

Of course, both countries enjoy sort of special relationship.

The U.S. aid stepped forward with initial aid package. And the U.S. Pentagon, the military also stepped forward with a number of modes of assistance, including helicopter lift and search and rescue maritime wise.

Now Barbara Starr has this report on the American relief effort.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. Military has now completed an initial assessment of what is needed and how to get it there. But it's going to be very tough going.

There are about 200 Marines already on the ground trying to help bring in some of the aid and supplies. But the big priority now is to get that airport at Tacloban open and running 24 hours a day. Due to the damage from the storm, it's only been able to operate in the daylight hours. And that, of course, is limiting the amount of aid that can come in.

There are several U.S. military aircraft that have moved into the airport and tried to unload some initial supplies but it's far from enough. So expect to see more troops, more aircraft arriving. And the U.S. is going to see what it can do to help the Philippine military get to some of the outlying, very remote areas to keep looking for possible survivors.

There's also civilian aid coming in. The Agency for International Development trying to ship in tents, medical supplies, hygiene supplies like soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, enough for 10,000 people. But it may take days to get that shipment there. And there are tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of people, survivors, who desperately need help.


LU STOUT: Now again the United States is sending over an aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, to help scale up the air operation in this huge relief operation. That aircraft carrier should get here relatively quickly as it's been based in neighboring Hong Kong.

Now you're watching News Stream and our special ongoing coverage of the aftermath of the super typhoon here in the Philippines. We'll be back right after the break.


LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout here in Manila. And welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the aftermath of the super typhoon. It's been four days since that typhoon made landfall. We have many desperate people still waiting for basic supplies.

I'm joined now by Richard Gordon of the Red Cross here in the Philippines. And Richard, the biggest challenge for you has been security -- why.

RICHARD GORDON, PHILIPPINE RED CROSS: Security and access. The access has been fixed up a bit, but security apparently is a problem now because our column has been stopped now before the ferry towards Samar, because there has been a firefight within Samar and Leyte.

And then...

LU STOUT: A firefight.

GORDON: A firefight.

LU STOUT: Gunfire.

GORDON: Gunfire.

There were two NPAs captured also in (inaudible) where Matinog (ph) is. So they're stopping everybody to leave sure that the free flow of goods will not be impeded, allegedly by the MPA.

On the other side of the peninsula, coming from southern Leyte, we have a lot of goods coming in. So we're now considering putting it on board a (inaudible) ship and taking it over to by ship to the area. And -- or having it escorted not with military armed groups but just on the side, so that we can bring it to Leyte. And we will be OK.

From Cebu, we were able to supply goods, but limited quantities because you can only do so much on the C-130.

LU STOUT: And there were only three C-130 planes flying out.

GORDON: And we're loading up on a ship that's going there tomorrow.

LU STOUT: The firefighting, the violence, the lack of security did that surprise you?

GORDON: I think some people are trying to take advantage of the situation.


GORDON: Some people like, you know...

LU STOUT: Desperate people, desperate measures.

GORDON: Right. Hooligans. And, you know, there have been a lot of ransacking of warehouses, of gasoline stations, supermarkets and there. So I think it's a good step in the right direction that the government finally bore hard (ph).

This is the first time we ever had any looting. People who lay there very peaceful. So some people are making a ruckus out there. And that is really going to impede our ability to do so.

LU STOUT: OK, now last night here in the program you called for a curfew...

GORDON: That's right.

LU STOUT: allow the safe and secure passage of the aid. Is that happening?

GORDON: The curfew was imposed...

LU STOUT: It was imposed?

GORDON: It was imposed. But it wasn't for the aid, because at that time I thought we could reach Leyte by this morning, but the curfew was imposed within Leyte and the firefight occurred outside of Leyte so still the same.

So tomorrow we hope we can bring it in.

LU STOUT; That's right. You're trying to reach these two areas, in particular, Leyte Island and hard hit neighboring Samar Province. Access has been a problem for you and security has been a problem for the Red Cross. Time is of the essence here, isn't it, because we are nearing five days and this population has been closed off. Are you going to reach these people in time?

GORDON: We are going to reach them at least in the coastal areas of Leyte and in Samar. We in -- that's a commitment.

In fact, tomorrow, we should be distributing goods in Samar. The moment those goods coming from Matanau (ph) come in and from the other side of the archipelago we will split the goods between Leyte and Samar and it will go.

People will be happy because they're going to have weeks supply of food right away. They're going to have water and hopefully they're going to have medicine. And we're going to have a tent set up for a hospital, a medical hospital for those that (inaudible).

LU STOUT: All right, Richard Gordon of the Philippines Red Cross, thank you so much for joining us, wishing you and your team the very best.

As you and I both know time is of the essence here. Best of luck, best of luck.

GORDON: And thanks to the world for caring.

LU STOUT: Yeah, thank you.

And let's go back to Michael. And Michael, I mean, it's just fascinating and, oh my goodness, just overwhelming to hear the challenges that the relief workers are up against, the logistical challenges, the weather challenges and security challenges as well. Back to you.

HOLMES: Yeah, what's really worrying, I suppose, Kristie, is as you pointed out earlier too, time is of the essence. As time passes it gets more and more desperate, people cannot go long without fresh water before they will succumb to either a lack of water or disease caused by the wrong kind of water. Big risk.

Kristie, thanks so much. We'll check in with you again later.

Meanwhile, I want to take a look at some of the other stories we are following around the world. Somalia declaring a disaster and appealing for emergency international aid after a deadly tropical cyclone over the weekend, entire villages destroyed in the northeast, at least 100 people feared dead, hundreds more are missing. Heavy rain and fierce wind is forecast to continue through the middle of the week.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Bangkok to protest an amnesty bill that could have led to the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin fled Thailand in 2008 to escape corruption charges. Thailand's senate rejected the measure.

China's Communist Party leaders wrapped up a key four day meeting. According to reports, the third (inaudible) set a broad agenda for economic reform, pledging to let markets play a decisive role in resource allocation. That's in contrast to past statements which described markets as playing a basic role.

And still to come here on News Stream, a living nightmare, the desperate situation facing survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Around the world Filipinos wait word from their loved ones.


HOLMES: Welcome back to News Stream. I'm Michael Holmes at CNN Center. Kristie Lu Stout is in Manila.

If you are just joining us, we have special coverage of the disaster there in the Philippines. Now four days since Super Typhoon Haiyan blazed through the country, a Philippine and American military planes are now faring aid from the logistical hub of Cebu. And delivering it to the coastal city of Tacloban, one of the hardest hit areas in the country. British and American warships also heading to the region to help in the relief effort.

Thousands of survivors are trying to get out of Tacloban on the return flight heading back to Cebu. Massive shortages of food, clean water and medical supplies and the bodies of victims remain on the streets. Major health risk.

Police and military reinforcements are being sent to Tacloban to restore and maintain order. Tacloban's mayor says they are relying on troops to take control, because the local government is not able to function.


ALFRED ROMUALDEZ, MAYOR OF TACLOBAN: we were paralyzed here in the city government, and only about -- out of 300 policemen, only less than 30 were able to make it, showed up and many are still missing. Even our own city government, we're about 1,300 strong. And only less than a hundred reported because everything is damaged even all the vehicles. That is why it paralyzed us. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Everyone is affected in that part of the world. The mayor and his family had their own harrowing experience when the super typhoon hit. I want to show you the video now. They live in a home that faces the ocean, but they did get to a resort next door. The storm surge, though, that many people didn't expect would be as big as it was, crashed through the waterfront ballroom sweeping away furniture. So the mayor and a friend had to punch a hole in the ceiling and the family moved into the rafters where they watched the water rush below. Terrifying.

The mayor's wife, actually, councilwoman Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez is now in Manila. She's with our Kristie Lu Stout who rejoins us now. Kristie, what a story. Let's hear it.

LU STOUT: Yeah, it's an incredible story. Cristina joins me right now. A remarkable story of survival. And could you just walk us through what happened when this storm surge roared ashore and hit your home? What happened?

CRISTINA GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ, WIFE OF TACLOBAN MAYOR: Actually, we didn't expect any water, that much water or storm surge or actually a tsunami is what we -- it was a tsunami.


GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: So, we were preparing for the strong, strong wind hoping that it wouldn't be as strong as they said it would be. But then when the ceiling started shaking and my daughter started crying, my 10- year-old started crying.

I didn't know what to do, because I was worried that, you know, anything that's flying -- the ceiling might fall on us, or any debris might fall -- so I went into the car. There was a car outside in front of the house, I went into the car -- a white (inaudible) car, and just thinking that the white (inaudible) car would protect us from anything that would fall and hit our heads or hit my children.

And soon after I see the water gushing in really quick, just low, not thinking that this is going to go that high at that point.

So it was gushing in. And it was going higher and higher. And it was like half of the car already. So I said this is not good, we better get out of the car.


GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: So, I took my kids out of the car and my kids are swimmers, we live by the beach. So we just started swimming. And swimming and swimming. And still the water really about 10 to 12 feet high, all the way up to the ceiling. It was a one story -- so 10 to 12 feet high.

LU STOUT: So, you're touching the ceiling. And you are hanging on. And you have to break through...

GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: ...hanging on -- no, that is my husband that broke the ceiling.

LU STOUT: Yes. Yes.

GONZALES- ROMUALDEZ: He was the one who broke the ceiling to get through the ceiling. We were hanging on to what was left of the ceiling.

LU STOUT: Yeah. Yeah.

GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: My daughters and I trying to fight the -- because there was a -- the water was rushing and pushing us out into the sea. So what was left of the walls. The ceiling was out at that point. We had to just stay in where the walls were to protect ourselves from being pushed out into the sea, because when you get -- well, we were floating with beds, floating desks and the furniture and whatever debris there was.

And if you go out and you get pushed out, debris might hit you and you're gone -- you know.

LU STOUT: You had to avoid drowning. You had to protect your family and avoid being washed out into the ocean.

GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: More like being washed out into the ocean.

So we were holding on, you know, and I -- at one point when the water kind of stood still for like maybe two hours, you know, that certain height, we put my 10-year-old daughter, me and the people who were with us -- my other 14-year-old was with us. And my nanny, we put our daughter up on the side of -- on the wall, of what was left of the wall to sit up there. And in case the water goes any higher, it won't reach her.

And I just kept on praying, that's what I did, just kept on praying and saying -- and I just -- you know, I kept my -- I tried to keep myself calm for my kids, you know, it's a mother's instinct.

You know, you keep yourself calm and collected so you could make the right decisions and maybe adrenaline, you know, and all that.

LU STOUT: Fortunately, your daughters were swimmers.

GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: My daughters are swimmers.

LU STOUT; But how did you keep them from panicking. How were you able to just keep control of the situation?

GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: Actually, my 14-year-old was saying, mommy we're going to die. Mommy, we're going to die. I say, no we're not going to die, you know. We're not going to die, I said. I'm sure of that. And I just kept on praying. And, you know, I had to be strong for them. Because these are my two babies, you know, my two daughters.

So, after awhile, after just being there waiting and hoping that the water wouldn't go any higher, thank god the water started going down little by little by little by little. I see now the door jam out and then little by little by little until the water reached the ground. And it was like -- but of course your thinking will it come back again, you know?

At that point, I was like -- I was like so relieved I was really so relieved then -- it's like you're still like in a -- is this real, is this real, is it a dream? Is it -- it's like you're in a movie, you know those movies like The Impossible things like -- I can't, you know, is it really happening to me?

LU STOUT: But it was reality. It happened to you.


LU STOUT: And when the water receded, you went outside just to figure out what happened.

GONZALES-ROMULADEZ: There were other people with us. There were the family of our driver...

LU STOUT: Yeah, tell us what happened in the immediate aftermath, right, because I understand that you were left with nothing. And you even had to look for clothes to wear.

GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: You know, after that, of course my husband found us. We walked through the everything, the debris barefoot. And my kids had their shoes on, which had laces so it didn't fall off.

Oh yeah, I had to borrow like even underwear from --- good thing I had people I knew downtown who had borrowed any -- everything and people just lent us stuff. You know, those like few days. Nothing to eat. We had some sausage -- cans of Vienna sausage, the easy open ones that my kids were eating for those three days, you know, just...

LU STOUT: Well, Cristina, you and your family you're among the lucky ones. And thank you so much for sharing your story.

GONZALES-ROMUALDEZ: I feel so bad for all the victims -- yeah.

LU STOUT: But I understand that you are hear in Manila because you are also going to be coordinating aid and relief efforts. And of course your husband is there on the ground, Tacloban City as the mayor of Tacloban City...

GANZALES-ROMUALDEZ: Yeah. I'll be going back there any time.

LU STOUT: You'll be going back there soon.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. And thank you for your help for the people of your hometown.

And, Michael, that was just an incredible account, firsthand account of a family in Tacloban City, how they managed to survive. And they were the lucky ones. This is mother and a councilwoman who thought quickly. Plan A didn't work when they decided to go into the car. Plan B, they went inside. Fortunately, they were able to swim. And they were able to hang on to the rafters so they wouldn't be swept out into the ocean. Back to you.

HOLMES: Some remarkable stories coming from there, Kristie. Appreciate you bringing that to us.

Kristi Lu Stout there in Manila.

And authorities, by the way, have finally reached a very remote area, devastated, when Haiyan tore through the Philippines now four days ago.

CNN's Anna Coren was on board a military aid flight as it arrived.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the disaster relief operation shifts into overdrive, the roar of engines from C-130 Hercules fills the air.

We've been given permission to board this military cargo plane, carrying vital aid and dozens of soldiers and police to one of the worst- hit areas in the Philippines. As we fly over the township of Guiuan in Samar Province, all we can see is utter devastation. This community was the first to be hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Since then, there has been no communication.

Well, the plan is to conduct a search and rescue mission, these men know all too well they're likely facing a recovery operation.

(on camera): The police and military on this flight have enormous job ahead. We have just landed at the air field. And as you can see, all around us, these enormous palm trees have been snapped like twigs. Everything has been flattened.

You can see that the local people over here, standing under a shelter that its roof has been completely ripped off. They have been without supplies now for days. This typhoon hit this point first. This was the first town, really, that was devastated. And these soldiers, they have no idea what they're about to face.

(voice-over): As the troops unload bags of rice and boxes of bottled water, the locals desperately watch on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Food to eat, we want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shortage of food, tents, everything. Everything's gone. So we need help.

COREN: Of the 50,000 people in this town, almost everyone is homeless. Dozens of people have lost their lives and many more are still missing.

CHRISTOPHER GONZALES, GUIUAN MAYOR: I don't know where to start. If you take a look at our municipality, it was totally hit, total damage, 100 percent damage.

COREN: With the aid off, the sick and injured are carried on board, some suffering spinal cord injuries. In less than 20 minutes, the engines start up again, ferrying these traumatized survivors to safety.

Anna Coren, CNN, Giyan (ph), the Philippines.


HOLMES: And still to come here on News Stream, Super Typhoon Haiyan was one of the biggest storms ever. Its aftermath actually prompted an emotional appeal to the world to deal with climate change. We'll look into that when we come back.


HOLMES: IN the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines has urged other nations to do something about climate change and do it now.

Let's go back to Manila and our Kristie Lu Stout on the spot there, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Hi, Michael, you know, from here in Manila I was able to catch that very emotional speech that was given by the head of the Philippines delegation and the UN climate talks underway in Poland. And he gave just an emotional speech linking what has happened here and devastated this country to climate change. It was a speech so emotional it brought tears in the audience and also brought about a standing ovation.

And it's also raising the question what is the link between super typhoons and our changing climate?

Now let's try to get some answers now with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

RAMOS: You know, Kristie, one of the things that we know about climate change from all of the studies, there are certain things that do make us more vulnerable to climate change and things that happen more often. For example, variabiltiy in rainfall. That is something that happens a lot more. In other words, you can have longer wet seasons or long dry seasons -- droughts, for example, are a link to climate change. Typhoons, hurricanes, tropical cyclones for example. There's less evidence that that might be linked to climate change.

So I know people always ask those questions, does this have to do with climate change? There are other things that come about when you talk about climate change. And, you know, for tropical cyclones, in particular, that information is still -- they believe maybe not so related to climate change, there's still not enough evidence of that. But for other things there are, including the amount of rain that can fall, for example, within a cyclone itself.

This is the world risk index, and it combines the country's natural ability to be able to cope with natural hazards or disasters, combining exposure, how susceptible an area is, how quickly they can adapt, that's how they determine how vulnerable they are.

In the Philippines, in this particular study back from 2012, comes out at number three. You can see the list right over here. Five of these countries in the top six are in the Asia-Pacific region. One, Guatemala is the only one in the Americas. Philippines ranks number three.

Why is the Philippines so susceptible to natural disasters and the risk being so high? Well, because they are a chain of islands. They have a high population density, Kristie, and poverty also plays a major role.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: All right, Mari, many thanks indeed for that.

And Mari, I just can't help but react to it -- I know you were probably watching that interview just then with Cristina Gonzales- Romualdez, the city councilwoman, the wife of the mayor of Tacoban City, also a mother, her story of survival. And it just struck me that she had no idea that that storm surge was coming. The mayor of Tacloban City and his family, they stayed put, had no idea that it was coming. And again, Mari, credit to you because early on you were predicting this was going to be very, very dangerous.

RAMOS: Yeah, you know, that really surprised me to hear her say that, that she didn't know that a storm surge was coming. I would think that that would be one of the most important things with tropical cyclones close to the water, especially such an intense storm, Kristie, that a storm surge would be coming.

And listening to her made me think of other stories of storm surges. And I thought back to the great Galveston hurricane back in 1901 that was - - it almost felt listening to her like I was rereading those stories of the storm surges coming in of people not knowing it was coming and hanging on for dear life to the rafters of the roofs of their homes. And that is precisely what it made me think of when I was listening to that woman -- to Cristina talk to you just a little while ago. It really shocked me that she didn't know that there was a storm surge possibility.

LU STOUT: Yeah, indeed. Mari Ramos there. Thank you so much for your reporting all along here.

Let's go back to my colleague Michael Holmes at CNN Center -- Michael.

HOLMES: Yeah, Kristie, thanks so much. Appreciate all of your reporting as well.

Now if you are in a situation where you are looking for a loved one, log on to our website Now there you can submit information about your missing friend or relative and hopefully make some sort of connection, get some sort of good news.

Stay with us, still to come here on News Stream, we're going to go live to hard hit Tacloban in the Philippines, share with you one uplifting story, one of hope amid the tragedy.


LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout live in Manila with out ongoing special coverage of the aftermath of the super typhoon. And amidst all the devastation there is a symbol of hope and a symbol of renewal, a healthy baby girl was born in the Tacloban City airport in the aftermath of that deadly storm. Paula Hancocks has the story. She joins us now live from Tacloban City -- Paula.

HANCOCKS: Hello, Kristie.

Well, this is certainly good news for those working in very difficult conditions in this triage. Certainly it is very trying what they are trying to do with basic standards of hygiene and with medicine which much of which is being damaged by the heavy rains that are here. So certainly very good news for them.

But unfortunately, within the same triage you see a lot of scenes of devastation still.


HANCOCKS: And 11-month-old Antoni is blissfully unaware of how lucky he is to be alive. During the storm, this woman sat her son on her head to keep him above the water level while she held off to the roof rafters.

JENELYN MANOCBOC, TYPHOON SURVIVOR: I hear many people crying, many people saying "Help! Help!"

HANCOCKS: She lost her husband and many other relatives.

MANOCBOC: Now I don't know where we'll go. We have to survive now. It's way too much. It's very hard.

HANCOCKS: Thousands are trying to take their children away from the devastation and the worsening security situation. This woman had twin boys three weeks ago. She's too terrified to stay.

JOVELYN DY, TYPHOON SURVIVOR: We wake up and there's some people inside our house, looters. And they can harm my children and us as well.

HANCOCKS: But in the midst of all this pain, there was one ray of hope in this makeshift hospital. A baby girl was born Monday in the most challenging of circumstances. Her mother, Emily, was brought in by neighbors. Pregnant women are currently evacuated to give birth but she was too close.

CAPT. ANTONIO TAMAYO, PHILIPPINES AIR FORCE: The baby came out and cried right away. There wasn't any problems. And there was no bleeding. It was a perfect delivery in a very imperfect environment.

HANCOCKS: Once the baby was born, the entire hospital applauded, a baby named Baya Joy (ph), bringing relief in the midst of such intense human suffering.


HANCOCKS: Now the doctor did want to evacuate the mother and the baby to make sure that they went to a city that wasn't damaged by this typhoon so that they could have proper post-natal care, but her neighbors wanted to take her back and look after her themselves -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Paula Hancocks there. Live from Tacloban City, thank you so much for your reporting.

And, Michael, just listening to that story just then, on one hand it's a story of hope amidst so many heartbreaking stories of loss, but it's also a story that reminds us of the medical need on the ground. Again, the Philippine government saying 9.8 million people affected, whether pregnant women or people with injuries, a lot of people waiting for medical assistance. And that assistance not getting to them just yet.

Back to you.

HOLMES: And hindsight is 20/20, but there's got to be an awful lot of people where you are in the Philippines wondering why it's taken four days to get some fresh water to them. Kristie, thanks so much. Great job as always to our team there in the Philippines.

Now, in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, many survivors, of course, are desperate to get out of where they are. Have a look at this scene at Tacloban airport today as hundreds of people waited to get on planes. More than 600,000 people driven out of their homes. According to the experts, up to 11 million people have been impacted in some way.

Now, among those waiting to leave the devastation, of course, the children. Many of them, like these kids here, are like their parents -- they need food, they need water, they need medical attention. They're all hoping to get on one of those few military flights out.

That is News Stream for the moment. But the news does continue, of course, at CNN. Thank you for your company. I'm Michael Holmes. News Room is next with Fionnuala Sweeney.