ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Mich. – A Sturgis man is back in West Michigan after surviving the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storm systems ever, which left thousands of people dead in the Philippines.
Now he is telling his story for the first time since his return to the United States.
“I don’t think it really hit us what was happening and even sitting here now I can’t believe that I’m here and I was there.”
After the long journey home to West Michigan, 23-year-old Carter Brown told FOX 17 he is happy to be back with family and friends.
Brown said after the Typhoon struck, a woman could be seen screaming in the streets while holding her baby. The child was blue. Brown said he brought them into his apartment, clothed the baby to warm the child. The infant began to cry a short time later.
Brown also said he was using shirts inside his apartment to make tourniquets for the injured.
Part 2 of FOX 17’s Interview:
Brown and 24-year-old Elsa Thomasma were in Tacloban, Philippines, one of the hardest hit cities. They were working for the GoAbroad Program when the typhoon hit. Both survived the power of Haiyan with its winds in excess of 200 miles per hour. Meteorologists are calling it one of the strongest typhoons in recorded history.
“We each just took a cushion and started covering our heads because at that point the wind had become strong enough that our window shutters had started breaking and glass was breaking.”
Both Brown and Thomasma are Sturgis High School graduates and Grand Valley State University Alumni.
After Typhoon Haiyan hit, neither Brown nor Thomasma were heard from until late Sunday evening.
Family tells us they had been checking with the Red Cross, the embassy in the Philippines, and looking for Carter and Elsa’s faces in video clips others have posted from Tacloban.
Brown was rescued by a military transport plane and brought to Manila. Thomasma would not leave, she wanted to go check on the people of Cangumbang. She’s still in the Philippines.
This comes as we learn more of the devastation of Haiyan. Relief organizations say they’re only able to deliver limited aid to victims.
The storm has destroyed at least 80,000 homes, according to the Philippine Government, but they suspect the true number is 582,000.
CNN reports the official death toll Wednesday morning stood at 2,275 which is significantly higher than the 10,000 casualty estimation initially feared.
To donate to GoAbroad’s relief fund, click here.