Exhibit captures typhoon aftermath

Published Wednesday, 23 April 2014
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Pictures by a Belfast photographer, who went to document the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last November, are now being featured in a major exhibition.

Exhibit captures typhoon aftermath
The exhibition opens on Tuesday 28 April. (© UTV)

The images of Typhoon Haiyan's aftermath shocked the world and inspired a huge international aid effort.

In Northern Ireland, the Filipino community were involved in fundraising and collecting supplies to send to the storm-savaged country.

Thousands were killed and millions were displaced from their homes.

Belfast man Matt Mackey travelled with charity Concern to capture the scenes.

"The main remit of me going out to the Philippines was to show the people of Belfast, of Northern Ireland and then further afield where their money is going to when they support such things like the typhoon appeal in the Philippines," he explained.

"It all sort of just evolves in front of you to be honest. You get talking to local people and find out their personal stories and I guess that's the pictures develop."

Matt visited three islands during his trip - as well as spending time in the town of Concepcion, on the island of Panay - where Concern has an office.

He took more than 15,000 photographs and says it was a difficult to choose just 24 pictures for the exhibition.

One subject however, a man named Arnold, left a lasting impression on Mackey.

"When I was taking his picture I noticed there were some speckles of paint on the ground. The same colour as the boat.

"I assumed that that's where the boat had rubbed when it had landed back on shore, when the typhoon lifted it. It turned out that Arnold had had his boat up there two weeks prior and had completely refurbished and repainted it.

"Those speckles of paint had come from where he had spilt the paint. It was amazing that it landed almost to the foot back in the exact same place."

Six months on, Concern is still helping those lives were torn apart when the 100-mile wide typhoon ripped through the Southeast Asian country.

While there, the photographer said he was struck by the strength of those left with nothing to their name.

He added: "They weren't standing there with their hands out. They were saying 'give us a hand up, help us get back to fishing, to earning a living. Give us the materials, we'll rebuild our homes'.

"Incredible resilience and determination to rebuild their lives."

The Faces of the Philippines exhibition is at the Waterfront Hall from Tuesday 28 April to Saturday 3 May.

© UTV News
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