Sutton man narrowly escapes Philippines typhoon devastation

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A Sutton man has spoken of his terror at the prospect of Typhoon Haiyan ripping through his new home just weeks after moving to the Philippines for work.

John Smalley (35) feared the eye of the storm that has killed an estimated 2,000 people was heading straight for Cebu, the city that he moved to with wife Sheryl last month.

In the end, his apartment block survived relatively unscathed as the worst of the storm hit 80 miles east in Tacloban.

Even so, he experienced winds of up to 200 miles per hour for its seven-hour duration and was without power for 36 hours afterwards.

And Mr Smalley, a former resident of Dunelm Close, has also witnessed at first hand the devastation it has brought, with work colleagues having family caught up in badly-hit areas.

“It was a pretty scary experience because you see the weather reports and think it could be coming your way,” he said.

“When you see the carnage it left behind you realise how lucky we were.

“I realised how bad it was when they arranged to close the office on Friday ahead of time.

“Filipinos are extremely resilient people, so for them to be that worried, I knew it was going to be bad.”

Typhoon Haiyan approached from the east travelling west and arrived on the back of earthquakes that measured 7.2 and 5.0 on the Richter scale in the previous three weeks.

Mr Smalley said: “I took video footage at the beginning and I wanted to film more, but as the power increased Sheryl reminded me being stood that close to glass doors and windows was not a good idea, especially when we saw some flying debris.

“Most places have been on a generator since the power was first knocked out and there were no mobile phones for a long time either, so contacting home was difficult and people were obviously worried.”