Even by typhoon standards, Yolanda was a monster.
By the time Typhoon Yolanda made landfall on the Filipino island of Leyte at 4:40 a.m. on Nov. 8, 2013, its winds were clocking in at 315 kilometres per hour. The storm surge that followed devastated the coastal city of Tacloban. Thousands drowned in their homes and in evacuation centres; thousands more were swept out to sea.
Yolanda was stronger than Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy combined. Its death toll — still undetermined five years later — is believed to be upwards of 10,000.
Immediately after the storm, international news crews arrived in Tacloban and trained their cameras on the flattened, debris-strewn neighbourhoods and traumatized survivors.
Filmmaker Sean Devlin watched the typhoon coverage from his home in Vancouver. His mother was born and raised on the island of Leyte — both of his parents worked in international development. Devlin knew that one day soon the international news crews would leave, and the arduous process of healing — and navigating corruption and exploitation — would begin in earnest.