THE PHILIPPINES - Neither the pull of power nor the sheen of celebrity could protect anyone from the wrath of Supertyphoon "Yolanda."
Officials of Tacloban City, which bore the brunt of the supertyphoon's fury, were among those who escaped with only the shirts on their backs.
Having nothing else to wear, Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez had to don a pair of shorts-apparently among the items looted from a department store-which someone had given him, according to his wife, Tacloban Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez.
Cristina herself had to borrow underwear and shirts from friends.
But the most horrifying experience came at the height of Yolanda's onslaught.
An angry wind
Cristina flew to Manila on Monday to help coordinate relief efforts, bring her children over, and also quell rumours about her supposed demise.
She spoke at a press briefing in Makati City, where relief goods were being packed for the typhoon victims.
The former actress recounted how her two daughters and their househelp clung to the beams on the ceiling of their guesthouse, where they had sought shelter, as the waters raged around them.
The wind had blown off its roof.
"It was a strong wind … an angry wind," she recalled, giving a high-pitched scream to imitate its power.
Cristina's husband was inspecting a nearby resort when the water came, forcing him and his aides to retreat to a ballroom and hang from the ceiling, as the sea tried to claim them, she said.
"We almost lost him," she said.