Tacloban 7 months after Typhoon Haiyan

Juvilyn Tanega
Juvilyn Tanega

TACLOBAN, PHILIPPINES (CNN) — When Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines seven months ago, thousands of people were killed, millions were displaced, and many survivors had their lives changed forever.

While there’s been progress, the rebuilding has been slow.

It’s all Juvilyn Tanega has now. Pictures of her family stored on a mobile phone.

Her six children, husband, and mother all died when one of the most powerful storms ever recorded smashed into the Philippines.

Now she lives alone in a sweltering tent without electricity.

Just a few meters from where she last saw her family.

Would she like to leave?

“Yes. There are only bad memories here for me,” Tanega said.

But six months after Typhoon Haiyan, leaving is still not an option.

The U.N. estimates more than 100,000 people here in the storm zone still live in tents, waiting for better housing.

Tens of thousands more are rebuilding in places the government is trying to close down.

This drone footage was taken by CNN in the immediate aftermath of Haiyan.

A large part of the city reduced to a smoking rubble.

Today it’s a totally different picture. The city is rebuilding again, but in the wrong places.

CNN stood here on this rooftop in the ruins of Tacloban just hours after Haiyan swept through. A sea of devastation. The extent of rebuilding is extraordinary but these houses are still right in what the government calls a danger zone.

They are too close to the sea, too vulnerable to future storms.

But talk to the people here and they will say they have nowhere else to go.

The government’s mantra here is building back better. Places like these, away from the waterfront that can withstand storms with the intensity of another Haiyan.

But of the more than 200,000 new houses planned, less than 150 have been completed in the first six months.

Officials say funding is not the problem, bureaucracy and finding suitable land to build on is.

But Government reconstruction chief Panfilo Lacson says it is a slow process.

“I understand the frustration, I understand the impatience, but it is the responsibility of the government to build back better because there’s no point reconstructing and putting them in harm’s way at the same time,” Lacson said.

That doesn’t help Tanega.

The tragic reality of her position is that because she is now has no family, no children to look after, she is at the very bottom of the list for new housing.

“It’s very painful for us, for me. They take us for granted. Who do I run to? Who do I lean on? I don’t have a family. I am not important to them,” Tanega said.

And as if her life wasn’t difficult enough, there’s a new danger. The typhoon season is again underway.

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