Typhoon Haiyan: the Philippines marks one year anniversary of the storm that claimed 7,300 lives

The Philippines is rebuilding after the devastating natural disaster

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Exactly one year ago, the Philippines was devastated by one of the most powerful storms in living memory — Typhoon Haiyan.

On November 8, 2013, with waves of 7 metres, and winds of 235 miles-per-hour, Haiyan caused the Philippines more than £8 billion of damage, devastated its local economy, left more than four million people displaced and claimed the lives of at least 7,000.

Thousands of people marked the anniversary with a memorial march through Tacloban, the city worst hit by the cyclone, staged with a backdrop of sirens and bells.

Candles were lit, and names inscribed on newly planted white crosses in the cities outskirts, where 2,300 people are buried.

At a city hall commemoration, 1,000 white balloons were released to signify acceptance of the human loss.

 

"I'll only overcome this tragedy when I die myself," Ben Pedrero, 61, told Associated Press, the storm having killed his wife and son, along with dozens of his extended family.

Like him, Agnes Bacsal, who lost her husband to Haiyan, still relies on financial support  from relatives and friends.

She lives with her six children in a shack built from storm debris, though she claims they have been given fresh hope by 7-month-old John William, the latest addition to the family.

"He gives me joy, just by being beside me," Bacsal said.

Her 14-year-old daughter, Maria Jean, beamed with optimism. "I'll be the best businesswoman in Asia and bring them out of here someday," she said when asked about her plans.

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White balloons were released at a Philippines memorial to signify acceptance of the human loss

Anti-government protests were also held, claiming that the rebuilding process is too slow; President Benigno Aquino says this is not the case.

Slow thought it may be, rebuilding is happening; shopping malls, hotels, and offices have reopened, with cars, taxis and motorcycles causing typical congestion on the highstreets.

In Tacloban, however, there remains 3,000 people living tents, hoping that the government can find a home for them by the end of the year.

President Aquino, whose government intends on building more than 200,000 homes for those left by Haiyan with nothing, is determined to install better Typhoon protection — including an elevated road connecting Tacloban to two coastal towns that also will serve as a dike.

"Like you, I am impatient," President Benigno Aquino III told residents during a visit Friday to nearby Eastern Samar province. 

He added, however, "We can't be reckless as we build back better."

Additional reporting by AP

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