Philippine Typhoon Survivors Build Improvised Christmas Trees Amid the Wreckage

In the areas of the Philippines where typhoon Haiyan wreaked the most havoc, typhoon victims are creating improvised Christmas trees and other holiday decorations from the rubble. Haiyan was one of the most powerful typhoons to ever hit land, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. Atlantic blogger Conor Friedersdorf notes that typically, "every day brings dozens of heartbreaking images" from this storm-torn area. But in searching photo wire images for "Christmas," he stumbled across unexpectedly heartwarming photos from the Philippine ruins. In the midst of tragedy, families there are marking the holidays with improvised takes on Christmas trees and traditions.

Here's a giant Christmas star fashioned out of a Philippine flag:

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And a Christmas tree built using storm debris:

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With Christianity being the predominant religion in area, Christmas is an important holiday to the people of Tacloban, a city of about 240,000 that took the hardest hit from the November 8 typhoon. Residents have still been finding ways to celebrate the holiday despite their difficult circumstances.

Hurricane survivors in Tacloban cheering after an improvised tree was lit up on Christmas eve:

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A stuffed Santa Claus figurine atop the roof of a shanty:

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Images: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images News/Getty Images