Super Typhoon Yolanda, also known internationally as Typhoon Haiyan, devastated the archipelago nation of the Philippines last week. It is the largest typhoon in recorded human history. NBC has reported that the death toll is at around 4,400 and it is expected to surge well beyond that and to possibly near 10,000. Super Typhoon Yolanda's powerful wind and waves devastated entire villages and buried possibly thousands of people in its path. Officials are estimating that around 600,000 people lost their homes after Super Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the Philippines. Relief efforts have been slow, as blocked roads and bogged airports are not allowing for the proper distribution of food, medicine and clean water to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.
Amidst all of the destruction and despair, stories of hope and resilience have emerged that show us even a super typhoon can't crush the human spirit. Philippine native Sheena Junia used her newly purchased surfboard to paddle against the super typhoon's rising waters and get to safety.
"She woke up around Friday, November 8 at 5 am because of a loud bang on her door," Rappler reported after interviewing Sheena about her ordeal. "Despite the alarming noise, she tried to go back to sleep. She wanted to because she was too scared to listen to the sounds." Little did she know, it was Super Typhoon Yolanda knocking at her door.
"After two more hours of sleep, another huge bang on the door woke her up. This time, the wind was too strong that it knocked the door off, and then floodwater rushed in," the Rappler reports. "She hurried to get dressed but just after two minutes, the water has [sic] reached her waistline. It took her another two minutes to get her backpack and reach her new surfboard. It just arrived the day before."
Check out the rest of Sheena's amazing story here. While she ultimately had to leave her surfboard behind, she would not have survived Typhoon Yolanda without it. You can visit The American Red Cross here to donate and help provide relief for the thousands of victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.