COVER STORY

What Yolanda-hit areas look like 5 years after

CNN Philippines takes a closer look into the efforts made by residents of Guiuan, Eastern Samar to recover from the deadly supertyphoon.

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Guiuan, Eastern Samar (CNN Philippines) — Yolanda was categorized as a supertyphoon when it first made landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, on November 8, 2013.

Winds almost hit 300 kilometers per hour, and severely damaged the city of Tacloban. Its heavy rain and storm surges killed more than 6,000 people, and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

Here are images of the destruction, paired with the recovery Yolanda-hit areas have made five years since the calamity happened.

The more than 400-year old Immaculate Concepcion Church caved in while Typhoon Yolanda barreled through the coastal town of Guiuan, Eastern Samar on November 8, 2013. Guiuan was the first of Yolanda's five landfalls.

History has it, the church began construction in 1596 and was completed in 1768. It is classified as a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government. In 2014, the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation donated USD 300,000 grant for its rehabilitation and restoration.

 

Incumbent Guiuan mayor Sheen Gonzales says public infrastructure in the town has improved significantly post-Yolanda. Aside from a new town hall, Guiuan also has a number of new government buildings, including a public market.

It is still located across the renovated Guiuan port terminal. Several business establishments, mostly destroyed during Yolanda, have reopened to cater to residents both in the mainland and in the island barangays.

The Guiuan East Central School is among the oldest government structures in this Eastern Samar coastal town. It has more than 50 classrooms, almost all damaged by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Residents used the school as an evacuation center. But since it was not spared by Yolanda, they were forced to scamper and seek shelter in other structures.

Only the school's Gabaldon building (heritage classroom) has yet to complete its renovation.