A man stands in front of a large ship grounded by Typhoon Haiyan on April 18, 2014 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines,
A man stands in front of a large ship grounded by Typhoon Haiyan on April 18, 2014 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines,Chris McGrath—Getty Images
A man stands in front of a large ship grounded by Typhoon Haiyan on April 18, 2014 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines,
Crosses and personal items are seen at the makeshift mass grave site at San Joaquin Parish on April 16, 2014 in Tacloban.
Jonna Lizette C. Modesto lights candles at the gravesite of her 5-year old brother John Reyneud C. Modesto watched on by her father Anastacio S. Modesto III at the makeshift mass grave site at San Joaquin Parish on April 16, 2014 in Tacloban.
Children play around three large ships grounded by Typhoon Haiyan on April 18, 2014 in Tacloban.
People play basketball amongst damaged houses covered in plastic sheeting on April 17, 2014 in Tacloban.
A family washes and cleans clothes next to the hull of a large ship grounded by Typhoon Haiyan on April 18, 2014 in Tacloban.
Kids watch on as a boy plays pool with marbles on a makeshift pool table in a temporary bunk house complex on April 16, 2014 in Tacloban.
A security guard keeps watch on one of the large ships that was grounded by Typhoon Yolanda in the coastal area renamed by residents ' Yolanda Village' on April 20, 2014 in Tacloban.
Children play on sandbags that were used to refloat a grounded ship in the coastal area renamed by residents " Yolanda Village" on April 19, 2014 in Tacloban.
A woman looks at items in a store in the coastal area renamed by residents ' Yolanda Village' on April 20, 2014 in Tacloban.
Workers at a junkyard throw scrap metal on a pile after weighing it on April 16, 2014 in Tacloban.
A man smokes as he removes rubble from his home on April 18, 2014 in Tacloban.
People enjoy the water off the coast of a destroyed town on April 18, 2014 in Tacloban.
People shelter from a sudden thunderstorm as a man is tied to the cross during a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ, celebrated on Good Friday on April 18, 2014 in Tacloban.
Catholic devotee's read sections of the bible at a station of the cross on Calvery Hill on April 18, 2014 in Tacloban.
A man stands in front of a large ship grounded by Typhoon Haiyan on April 18, 2014 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines,
Chris McGrath—Getty Images
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Devastation Persists in Tacloban Six Months After Typhoon

Apr 23, 2014

Nearly six months after supertyphoon Haiyan laid waste to central-eastern Philippines, survivors continue to live in the shadow of the record-breaking storm’s impact.

As always, the Catholic-majority population has been turning to religion for comfort, and many celebrated the resurrection narrative of Easter holiday as a symbol of their own new lease on life. For many, however, it’s a restart from scratch that hasn’t yet progressed very far.

Despite a massive effort by the government and both national and international NGOs, safe housing remains a grave concern. Haiyan left more than 4.37 million Filipinos homeless, and more than 100,000 of them still live in tent shelters. Authorities aim to ready transitional housing by June for those still displaced. Even then, evacuees will have to weather future storms in these temporary structures until 2015, when the government hopes to finish more permanent abodes.

Around the city of Tacloban, the epicenter of Haiyan’s devastation, many locals eke out a meager existence while processing their grief, with bodies still found in the surrounding area. An April 17, discovery of seven more corpses pushed the total death toll to 6,300.

For farmers, the struggle to regain their livelihoods has been especially taxing. Over a third of Haiyan’s $2 billion destruction was wreaked on the agriculture sector, including crops, fisheries, livestock and infrastructure. The government has released $117 million for agricultural recovery, including coconut seedlings. However, this effort has barely dented the 33 million lost coconut trees from Leyte Island, which used to support 40% of its farmers.

Judging by the Filipino resilience, though, the emotional healing may thankfully be quicker than the six to eight years it takes for coconut seedlings to mature.

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