12/18/2014

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Philippines typhoon survivor: 'It was a beast. This thing was a beast'

Philippines typhoon survivor: 'It was a beast. This thing was a beast'

SEATAC, Wash. -- Five days after Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines, a Kirkland man finally made it home. 

Gregg Anderson survived the devastating storm and the desperation that followed.  When he stepped off the escalator at Sea-Tac Airport, it was to a chorus of "Happy Birthday" from friends and family.

"I'm really, really happy right now. Really happy," Gregg's sister Dianna Schneider said.

Anderson travelled to the Philippines with a buddy for a 50th birthday trip planned before the record setting storm took shape. When Haiyan hit, Anderson and his friend Chad took cover, moving from spot to spot within their rented beach villa.

"When all the windows and doors started blowing out, we scurried under the stairs," Chad said.

For four hours, the typhoon ripped the five bedroom villa to pieces around them.

"It tore it apart completely, and all that's left is a shell," Anderson said.  "It was a beast. This thing was a beast. It had this thumping sound like a washing machine and it would whap, and whap and just flatten everything."

The men described the people around them as desperate but kind.  A larger town nearby was more dangerous. 

"Three people were shot, fighting over food. I witnessed looting," Chad said.  "It was crazy. People were just going into stores and taking whatever they could. It's survival there."

Gregg and Chad rationed their food to survive while they figured out how to get back home. 

"We got out at the right time. There's no food, no water, people are desperate. You can't blame them. They've got to live. They gotta do what they gotta do to survive," Anderson said.

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