Typhoon Nona 14 Dec 2015

At the end of this year, my contract with working on the gold mine in the Philippines is coming to an end, three years I have been lucky enough to avoid all the Typhoons that have visited us until now. Typhoon Nona, from the reports on BBC news, has 200kph winds and up to 1.2 meters of water full, as you would expect, the mine site has set procedures to follow in such event and buy 2pm, the workforce had all been sent home to prepare for the upcoming typhoon.

Dark clouds soon covered Masbate and while I lay back on my bed watching TV, the siren to notify us to head to the closest shelter could be heard. Security had just entered our house and told use to go to house 9, I knew approximately where it was but I haven’t actually been there myself  but I felt confident that we would find it after a brief instruction from the security, so then I and another expiate made our way in the general direction. We were first told that of Typhoon shelter was near the kitchen, but then the security told us that we were assigned to a different house.  

Along the tree lined road, with little light at 5pm, the rain started to full much harder with the wind gusts making the trees move aggressively from side to side. I wouldn’t say we got lost, but we were unsure where the house was, lucky for us the security vehicle with the siren came by. Two were in the vehicle and either of them also didn’t know where house 9 was so we soldered on until we finally found our home for the night.

The shelter was what looked like a cellar which had a couple of rooms that had concrete walls and ceiling which provided the ideal defense from the typhoon, there were two bedrooms and a living area that had a coffee machine, chairs and emergency kits which contained the basics and crackers which we helped ourselves to.  Within a couple of hours, we knew the typhoon was upon us, ever so often we would open the door to have a look at what’s happening, not a lot to be seen expect a distant street light with the trees branches moving very violently side to side so we closed the door and sat back in our safety watching a movie and eating our survival packs.

The eye of the storm passed over us which gave us some quilt time for 10 or so minute before it started again and this time the wind guests ripping off our screen door and pushing down many of the surrounding tress. By 1am things started to quilted down and this time going by the chatter on the radios, the cleaning up of the main roads and safety inspections were being carried out before we got the final Ok to return to our rooms.

The next day, there was no production in the mine site, half of the workforce didn’t show up which is to be expected and the massive cleanup was underway.

These security concrete emergence shelters are the response due to a number of killings of security guards from the nearby villagers. Also used for the typhoon shelter



One of many wooden security hut damaged

Aroroy, Masbate, Philippines