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Typhoon Haiyan survivors flee Tacloban misery on navy ship to Cebu

By Pamela Boykoff, CNN
updated 3:58 AM EST, Fri November 15, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Typhoon survivors arrive in Cebu after 24-hour sea journey from Tacloban
  • Evacuees received boxes of fried chicken and rice, as well as water
  • Many survivors were injured; medical teams treated spinal injuries, skin infections
  • Cars, trucks lined streets to carry survivors to shelters and other parts of the country

Cebu Port, Philippines (CNN) -- Nearly 3,000 survivors of Typhoon Haiyan disembarked from a Philippines naval ship in Cebu Friday, carrying the few possessions they could take with them. Many cradled exhausted children; a few even carried dogs.

Evacuees said they were relieved to have left Tacloban City, which they described as "dangerous" and even "hopeless." They said they could not get access to food or water and feared people were ransacking homes.

READ: One week after typhoon, grim realities

"We have survived the typhoon, but how to survive the dangers there, it was very, very hard to imagine," said Maejoy Vero, who left with her one-year-old son.

Families waiting for news from Tacloban
Tracking typhoon aid in Cebu
Philippines relief efforts intensify

The sea journey from Tacloban City took roughly 24 hours, in a ship normally used for naval transport.

Volunteers greeted those who made it to Cebu, the Philippines' second largest city. Evacuees received boxes of fried chicken and rice, as well as water.

Members of the Philippines Navy helped the elderly and those in wheelchairs. At least one man was carried off the ship in a stretcher. Medical experts stood by to treat the injured.

READ: Desperation, resilience in Tacloban

Dr. Lourdes Sasoy, a member of the medical team at the port, said she had seen everything from spinal cord injuries to skin infections. She had treated "countless" patients, none of whom had access to medical care since the storm. The more severe cases were being sent to local hospitals.

Many of the evacuees planned to join family members who live elsewhere in the country, often either in Cebu or Manila, the nation's capital.

Cars and trucks lined the streets outside the naval port with those waiting to pickup survivors. People with nowhere to go will be transported to evacuation centers here in Cebu.

We have survived the typhoon, but how to survive the dangers there, it was very, very hard to imagine.
Maejoy Vero, typhoon survivor

INTERACTIVE: Typhoon's deadly path

At least one local sports center is currently being used to provide shelter to victims, according to local officials, while the government works out more long-term plans.

"We are so tired," said Manilyn Asuncion, who was sitting on board with her extended family, while they waited for relatives to arrive. She and her nieces and nephews were among those holding signs of thanks to the Philippines Navy for getting them out. Another ship plans to leave Tacloban in the next day or two.

Asuncion's niece, eleven-year-old Misheiguel Cahuday, said she was sad to abandon her home in Tacloban City, but she understood the dangers and was trying to embrace the future. "I'll have a new life," she said.

CNN's Anna Coren contributed to this story.

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