Latvian couple describe lucky escape after deadly storm

  • 2013-11-12
  • By Rayyan Sabet-Parry, RIGA

A Latvian couple have described their lucky escape after one of histories biggest storms devastated the Philippines.

Around 10,000 people are feared dead and an estimated 11 million people affected after Typhoon Haiyan struck the country on Friday, Nov. 8. 

Arnis Parkers and Liga Jankova from Riga, both 25, moved to Cebu City, Philippines this year for work.

They told the Baltic Times how they feared the worst after they being told the storm was coming. 

"The typhoon was announced three days before and people got time to prepare as much as possible," said Arnis.

"We bought food, water, flashlights and pretty much stayed at home waiting for it to hit. Since we live in a new building we were not so scared and the building management gave us clear guidelines of what to do when the storm would hit. We stayed up all night waiting for it come and passed out just before it came, so we slept when it passed by.

"Although it was supposed to hit strong, they announced signal 4 - wind speeds up to 300kph, eventually the typhoon went north and all we had was strong winds so we got lucky."

He added:  "One of my colleges is from Leyte, the city that was wiped out. After the storm he got on a military plane and went looking for his family, we didn't hear from him for two days. Luckily he came back with his mom and brother with only minor injuries and lack of water for those days."

It's not the first time the young couple have had a lucky escape, In October, the Philippines suffered a 7.2 richter earthquake causing extensive damage.

"That was pretty scary," said Arnis.


"There were about 4000 after shocks in the coming weeks. I was on the 15th floor at that time, it was pretty hard to keep on your feet, since it was shaking badly.

"Both me and Liga moved to the Philippines this summer, since then we've had the strongest earthquake here in 23 years and the strongest storm in history, not the best place to live."

Aid agencies have launched urgent appeals to help raise funds towards the relief efforts. 

Estonia has sent two experts and 150,000 euros of aid to the Philippines. Latvian and Lithuanian officials have expressed their condolences to the people of Philippines. 

For more information on how to donate to the rescue efforts visit