At Tanuan town hall, on the island of Leyte in the Philippines, 23-year-old Golda May has joined a team of five midwives to set up a delivery room in a tiny office with a desk covered by a towel which serves as a bed. With half of the roof missing, a leaking tarpaulin provides them with some shelter from the elements. The floor is awash with muddy water.
“Some of the mothers went into labour prematurely because of shock following the disaster,” says Golda. “We have no anesthetic, no pain relief and no antibiotics.”
Despite the crude set up, the team have managed 13 deliveries in the past week. Golda shares her own tragic story. The day the storm hit she was working, but her four-year-old daughter was at home in the path of the storm surge.
“My daughter is still missing; people say they are burying all the children in a mass grave. I just have to keep busy so that I don’t think about what happened,” she says. She has no other children.