MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines marked on Sunday the 7th anniversary of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), with the central city of Tacloban that bore its brunt offering mass for the thousands who died and officials remembering the lessons from the tragedy.
The city held a mass celebration on Saturday in Barangay Anibong which was swept by Yolanda’s storm surge in the early hours of Nov. 8, 2013, bringing a cargo vessel ashore, part of it has now been turned into a memorial marker.
“This shipwreck stands as a remembrance of the thousands of lives that perished throughout the City of Tacloban on that day,” city mayor Alfred Romualdez said in a message posted on Facebook.
“It marks the genesis of our advocacy for resiliency and adaptation to a new normal that will continue for generation to come.”
Another mass was held Sunday at the Holy Cross Memorial Gardens in the city, where thousands of dead victims, many unidentified, were buried.
"It is our prayer that all super typhoon) Yolanda victims buried here will finally be identified, turned over to the bereaved families and given proper burial," said vice mayor Jerry Yaokasin who visited the grave site on Saturday afternoon.
Yolanda was packing maximum sustained winds of 235 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 275 kph when it first made landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
It made a total of six landfalls throughout the day as it moved westward, affecting over 16 million people, mostly from Regions 6, 7 and 8. At the height of the typhoon, more than 5.1 million were displaced.
The typhoon left some 6,300 dead, more than 1,000 missing, and over 28,000 injured.
It destroyed 1.1 million houses, and cost of overall damage was placed at over P95 billion, according to the report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The Philippine Red Cross, with the help of the private sector, had built some 80,000 houses in 9 provinces that Typhoon Yolanda lashed in its wake, according to its chairman Sen. Richard Gordon.
It constructed 28,968 in hard-hit Leyte, he said. The non-profit organization also built schools and healthcare facilities, he added.
"Marami tayong eskuwelahan...Naglagay tayo ng iba't ibang livelihood, binigyan natin ng iba't ibang trabaho," he said on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(We built many schools... We gave residents livelihood and opportunities.)
Another super typhoon, Rolly (international name: Goni), lashed the Philippines a week ago, affecting nearly 1.5 million people and over P13.8 billion worth of damage in infrastructure and agriculture.
Twenty-one people in the Bicol region and three in the Calabarzon died during the onslaught of Rolly, while six were reported missing, and nearly 400 were injured.
On average, 20 storms hit the Philippines each year.