Philippine typhoon survivor starts from zero

Ronald Calipayan was sorting through the mess at home following Typhoon Haiyan.
CBS News

(CBS News) TACLOBAN, Philippines - On Thursday, the U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington arrived in the Philippines. Its 21 helicopters will deliver food and water after Typhoon Haiyan destroyed buildings and infrastructure there. Thousands of peoplewere killed and the exact number is not known.

Utility workers in hard-hit city Tacloban were back on the job Thursday. But it wasn't to restore power -- they were still cleaning up.

It was the same all over town. Almost a week after the typhoon tore through the Philippines, very little has changed.

Ronald Calipayan was sorting through the mess at home. Most of what was there wasn't even his. It had floated here from his neighbors. He told us he was back to zero.

Asked how he would start again, Calipayan said: "I don't know because my little business also washed out."

His small electronics shop was ruined. Now his family must scavenge for every meal. Calipayan's 14-year-old nephew Kenji said he'd been forced to join the looters.

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"I feel bad a little," said Kenji. Then he explained: "We can't survive if we don't have any food."

Despite the huge relief effort underway, none of it had made it to the family's neighborhood.

"It's so hard to explain," Kenji said when asked about what he thinks when he goes to bed at night after the typhoon. "But I feel sad for everything.

Kenji's mother Ronilda could still barely talk about it. When the storm hit, she couldn't find her children.

"I don't want to recall what happened to us," she said, "especially what happened that day kids were not with us."

Her children were safe, but she lost almost everything else. Cleaning off the few family photos she could salvage, Ronilda found a gift from her mother:

"This is my only earrings I have," she showed us. "A pair of this one and pair of this one."

As for reports of aid heading towards the Philippines, it really depends on which neighborhood you're in. We have started to see people lining up for that aid, but most of the people we talk with say, 'We have not received any aid that has not gotten to our neighborhood.'

A number of things are holding up supplies such as, certainly, downed trees and power lines. Many of the roads in the middle of Tacloban are still impassable. There are also armed gangs and heavily armed troops on street corners.