Al Gore visits Tacloban

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TACLOBAN: Climate change activist and former US vice president Al Gore made a surprise visit to this city ravaged by one of the strongest storms on record.

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The Nobel Peace Prize winner lit candles at a mass grave in Tacloban for thousands killed by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) in 2013, a picture tweeted by Climate Reality showed.

The US non-governmental organization is holding a seminar on adapting to climate change in Manila next week, where Gore is scheduled to speak.

“We hope his visit reminds the world of what happened after Yolanda,” 51-year-old typhoon survivor Demetria Raya said.

The mother of three said she met Gore Saturday in a seaside village near Tacloban airport where her home once stood, before it was wiped out by the storm.

“He asked if I want to rebuild my house here. I said no. This place reminds me of my ordeal, how the waves washed away everything,” said Raya, who now lives in a temporary shelter several kilometers away.

More than two years after the typhoon, Tacloban and surrounding areas have yet to recover, with many living in shanty towns without running water and electricity. Survivors often still bear emotional scars.

Yolanda swept through central islands of the Philippines in November 2013, with giant waves wiping out entire communities and leaving 7,500 people dead or missing.

Since the disaster, high-profile personalities including the Pope and French President Francois Hollande have visited Tacloban to call attention to the effects of climate change.

Experts are studying the link between climate change and the increasing strength of storms battering the nation.

AFP

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