Camp Tacloban



First things first, I’m lucky. I’ll be doing this for a few days. There are lots of people here in Tacloban who have lost everything and have nowhere to call home. That said, I thought I’d let you know how I’ve been surviving on the road.

This place was hit terribly hard by Typhoon Haiyan. There’s little left. No food, water, electricity. Basic infrastructure wiped out in a couple of hours.

That means for the reporter flying in, you have to bring everything.That means a Thuraya and a Bgan to keep in touch with editors. Enough water to keep me hydrated. Enough food to stop me going hungry. And, of course, toilet paper.

The only problem was that flying in from Islamabad put me in Manila at midnight. Then at an airfield at 7-30am the next day. I had time to pick up a case of water, a few packets of biscuits and three pot noodle-type things. I borrowed a sleeping bag. But that was about it.

Home for now is a tent (see above) at the airport which I am sharing with our other correspondent here, Tom Phillips, from Shanghai. A little too cosy for comfort, if you ask me (and I suspect if you ask him).

Much of my day is a constant battle to keep phones and laptop charged. The cash-rich TV crews often turn up with a generator and I’ve been “borrowing” from ABC for the past couple of nights. The Philippines Navy is also running a comms centre, where the nice officers let me use their sockets.

And after surviving on little more than water for the first 24 hours, I have found the air force canteen – where last night a grinning chef offered me chicken curry and rice, all sealed up in a smart plastic package. Today they managed a cup of noodle broth and a coffee.

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