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Dad's fear in the eye of Typhoon Haiyan

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

By Josh Barrie

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A DAD from Penzance has described his terrifying experiences at his home in the Philippines as Typhoon Haiyan struck.

Nigel Thomas, his wife and his children felt their home shake and saw coconut trees ripped from the ground as the super-storm hit the region last month.

Mr Thomas, who moved to McArthur on Leyte Island ten years ago and married local woman Aimi, recounted the decision to leave everything behind a week after the storm struck and travel over the sea to Cebu City to seek safety.

He said: "After the typhoon hit we stayed for around a week to clear up the debris.

"I was really very anxious about my family and staying safe – vulnerable people were in trouble. We had no choice but to leave."

"When we left to get the ferry there were bodies lying on the side of the road. It was shocking."

Mr Thomas said his house was still standing, but many homes were flattened.

He is now renting a two-bedroomed home and said many people faced a horrendous Christmas.

"Some people on McArthur are really struggling," he said.

The former RSPCA inspector said he was thankful for the support he had received from loved ones in Cornwall.

In the aftermath of the storm there were appeals to find Nigel and his family after contact was lost.

Messages were posted on social media sites alongside hundreds of others from people all over the world desperately trying to find out whether their loved ones had survived.

Fortunately Nigel was able to make contact with his family.

His mother, Jeanne Thomas, is relieved her son is safe and well but is still worried about the situation.

She calls him every day, and paid tribute to his extended family and friends, who have all helped out.

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