TACLOBAN, Philippines – There is no functioning morgue here, so people have been collecting the dead from Typhoon Haiyan and storing them where they can — in this case, St. Michael the Archangel Chapel.
Ten bodies have been placed on wooden pews and across a pale floor slick with blood, debris and water. One has been wrapped in a white sheet, tied to a thick green bamboo pole so that people could carry it, and placed on the floor.
One body is small, and entirely covered in a red blanket.
“This is my son,” says Nestor Librando, a red-eyed, 31-year-old carpenter. “He drowned.”
Librando had taken refuge in a nearby military compound by the time the typhoon’s storm surge poured in Friday morning.
For two hours, the water rose around him. He held his 2-year-old son in one arm, his 3-year-old son in the other.
But the torrent proved too strong, and swept the family out of the building. The water rose above Librando’s head and he struggled to swim. His younger son slipped from his hands and was immediately pulled under the water.
“I found his body later, behind the house,” he said.
“I brought him to this chapel because there was nowhere else to take him,” Librando says. “I wanted Jesus Christ to bless him.”