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Tacloban after Yolanda: the European Union’s mission to Leyte

In November 2, 2013, Typhoon Yolanda hit Tacloban City and devastated much of the province. Later, international aid came pouring in and rebuilding had begun. Nearly a year after the Yolanda event, the European Union visits Leyte to fulfill its mission to provide further aid and impart European culture as far as Southern Leyte. 

MANILA, Philippines - As the turbo-prop plane prepared to make its descent to Tacloban Domestic Airport, the pilot announced his personal thanks to the 30-something people aboard for visiting Leyte. A few people were peering out the small windows and looking down. Following suit, this writer did the same and the first thing he saw were hundreds of glints of silver sparkling like diamonds in the midday sun.

Those glints turned out to be new galvanized iron sheets for roofing—replacements for the ones lost during Super Typhoon Yolanda’s (Typhoon Haiyan) fury nearly a year ago. Much has changed since then and it was a pleasant surprise that the residents of Leyte have moved on and is in the process of rebuilding their lives.

Much aid has come since Yolanda’s passing and European Union Member States alone have donated 180 million Euros in humanitarian assistance, giving priority to the most severely affected people and providing for them the basic needs such as shelter, food, water, and healthcare. Aid continues to come in via Tacloban but at present, it’s safe to say that the province is back in business.

European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Ambassador of the Czech Republic in the Philippines Jaroslav Olsa are on a mission: to check on the progress of the people it has helped before, handing over tools for the livelihood of fishermen, updating on its “Erasmus Mundus” program, and bringing European film culture (Cine Europa) as far as to Southern Leyte.

The mayor welcomes

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez together with his wife, Cristina Gonzalez, welcomed the delegates inside an immaculately clean and spacious room. Not much can be seen inside of it except a big wooden table laden with snacks and a few cocktail tables near it. Mr. Ledoux proceeded to chat with the mayor concerning the funds and the Tacloban government. efforts in rebuilding the city. Watch the video here:

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As for the gallery of the EU's meeting with the mayor; Tacloban's ongoing reconstruction, please view it here:









(To be continued: The EU delegates’ trip to Visayas State University and the life-changing “Erasmus Mundus.”)

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