|taking care of those who perished: more than 3,600 with 1,200 still missing|
|saving what's left|
The status updates on Facebook at the time started with praises about the surprisingly good disaster preparedness, compared to previous calamities. The Philippines has one of the highest incidences of natural disaters in the world. But when news trickled in about the real situation, the status updates changed overnight. The extent of the devastation was slowly revealed and now authorities count over 3,600 dead, 1,200 still missing,12,500 injured, and 600,000 displaced. The emotional response is overwhelming. The US takes the lead in what is projected to be the third highest disaster aid in its history, behind the Haitian earthquake and the Indonesian tsunami. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/13/donations-typhoon-stricken-philippines/3508929/). That is not even counting heroic help from US military.
|much needed water|
I hope that the five basics of disaster response continue to be taken care of: early evacuation, emergency medical help, accessibility of food and water, improvised shelter, and infrastructure for better distribution and communication. It is also always good to remember the truism that staying with the positive will beget more positives. But the Philippines cannot escape from looking into the future for disaster risk reduction. If we do not have any experts in the science of disaster management, it will be worth our while to send scholars since such degrees are already being offered, as a matter of course, in American schools of higher learning. Hopefully, lessons learned are institutionalized in a powerful National Institution. Lastly, we can only be proud of economic gains if they are spread more evenly so that no more Filipinos have to live in shaky shoddy shanties by the sea, ready to be wiped out by the next big storm or gobbled up by the next big earthquake (http://ideas.time.com/2013/11/14/stop-catastrophizing-relief-efforts-in-the-philippines/).