BURAWIN, Philippines (AFP) - The super typhoon that slammed through the central Philippines laid waste to a vast region of coconut farmland, eradicating in one fell swoop the livelihoods of tens of thousands of smallholders.
"It's all gone," Glen Mendoza said, gesturing towards the collection of snapped and toppled trees that used to be the small but reliable grove that fed and supported his family.
"My daughter might have to stop going to college," he said. "These coconut trees are our only hope and now they're gone." Mendoza's plight is shared, not just by the farmers in his coconut-growing town of Burawin, but by tens of thousands of others across the island of Leyte.
A major coconut-growing province, Leyte accounts for one third of all the fruit produced in the fertile centre of the country, according to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).