Once-Thriving City Is Reduced to Ruin in Philippines – NYTimes.com

Keep praying for the people of Tacloban:

The largest storm surge in modern history in the Philippines sent walls of water over half a mile inland along a crowded coastline when Typhoon Haiyan came ashore here last Friday, erasing villages and towns and leaving thousands of people dead or missing.

Shattered buildings line every road of this once-thriving city of 220,000, and many of the streets are still so clogged with debris from nearby buildings that they are barely discernible. The civilian airport terminal here has shattered walls and gaping holes in the roof where steel beams protrude, twisted and torn by winds far more powerful than those of Hurricane Katrina when it made landfall near New Orleans in 2005.

via Once-Thriving City Is Reduced to Ruin in Philippines – NYTimes.com.

Is this also a time for reflection about how national resources should be redirected more toward humanitarian efforts?  Connor Friedersdor thinks so.



14 thoughts on “Once-Thriving City Is Reduced to Ruin in Philippines – NYTimes.com”

  1. I think one of the most troubling aspect’s of this tragedy is the time it has taken for aid to reach these cities. Three days after the typhoon hit, there are still areas that haven’t received any help. A large part of this could be the Philippine’s poor infrastructure (lack of proper roads and airports) and well as a decreased amount of emergency funds (they also just experienced a massive earthquake four weeks ago). This article was very interesting and highlighted some of the problems the Philippines now face:

    The international community should take a larger role and help these areas get back on their feet.

  2. It is so sad the devastation Haiyan has caused. I always wonder if truly everyone is looting grocery stores and such after a disaster or if only some people are. I also wonder if these people are overcome by survival instincts and would not usually loot and pilfer or if they are merely seizing an opportunity that was heretofore not an option for them. No matter what the reason for the looting, if the Red Cross is already becoming wary of taking supplies to stranded villages because of the pilfering and looting going on then it sounds like they either need to use other methods to deliver the food or there need to be a lot more guards and police on the ground. Although aid in terms of food and supplies is extremely important, I would argue that aid in the form of law and order is at least just as necessary. I would be interested to see if there was a possibility, if the Philippines is unable to provide adequate security forces on its own, if peacekeepers could be dispatched to temporarily assist.

  3. The most interesting part of this phenomenon is that I didn’t know anything about it at all. I should couch this perhaps in better terms, so as to not come off as someone ignorant of the news. This weekend, I sat in the comfortable, stone walls of a great eastern university. Surrounded by great intellects, discussing abstract topics, the world almost did seem to shut down. The thing that strikes me most is that all of this happened, all the pleasantries and cheese and grapes, happened while on the other side of the earth almost a million people were being displaced from their homes and concrete shelters became tanks of the dead. It is strange how I am well but they are destroyed though we all live on the same earth.
    But perhaps the truly remarkable thing is that we know at all. I have never been to the Philippines. My connection to the country is negligible. But through my computer I’ve watched bodies lifted from debris of families I will never know. How strange. The power of knowledge also makes me responsible for what I know. It makes us responsible. I do hope the UN sends in its troops, that people send over aid, and there is a great mobilization effort to set things aright. What can I do though? How can I help? I would love suggestions.

  4. Disasters of enormous proportion are occurring with ever increasing frequency, and I feel as if the world is becoming tired to pledging resources that they can’t really afford to give away to help other countries. If we are to remain human, our hearts should break at the sight of devastation abroad, and we should want nothing more than to help the injured and displaced in any way we are able. But what happens when climate change continues to worsen, and these horrid disasters aren’t once or twice a year, but once or twice a month. Can we possibly keep up with the demand? Now I’m not saying that we should stop sending aid. I want to work for the UN World Food Programme someday and bring aid to everyone. I just think we need to take a moment to analyze trends. In the current economic environment, monetary donations are plummeting. Wouldn’t it be nice if people could donate services, spread out the burden of helping these countries? I would fly to the Philippines in a heartbeat if I could afford to. Maybe we could convince airlines to give free standby seating to passengers wanting to help out. Supplies are necessary, but so is manpower. I can’t donate money, but I can donate my time and effort, there just needs to be a way to make these donations possible.

    As for the governments of the world, I hope they continue to answer the call of what little humanity is left in them and donate aid to countries affected by natural disasters. But as these disasters increase in frequency, I fully expect to see the amount of aid donated drastically decrease.

  5. I think that one of the tragedies of this disaster is how unprepared the Philippine government seems to have been. Places that had been deemed safe-centers for disasters were completely inadequate for the storm. I understand that Haiyan was one of the worst typhoons to ever hit the Philippines, but the fact that “few thought they needed to flee further inland” shows the insufficient preparedness of the leadership and people. In a location that is prone to such weather, it is too bad that lessons must be learned after calamity rather than before. Let’s just hope that a lesson has been learned now.

  6. My heart aches for all the people affected by this disaster. The stories of all the missing people are horrifying-I even heard that it is rumored that a third of the missionaries from the Tacloban mission are unaccounted for. I cannot even comprehend what it must be like to have to watch the world around you drastically change. I hope that as a world watching the destruction, we can organize our efforts to help these poor souls. The government of the Philippines has been having a problem with distributing aid money and other means of chaos. It does not, unfortunately, seem that like this government can help its country by itself, so it is imperative that we do all that we can to help these people. Do we need to fly out there and directly help them? No. Do we need to donate money? Not necessarily. It is important to keep these people (the victims, relief workers, and the government officials) in your thoughts and prayers, and hopefully we can help these people return to a content lifestyle. I hope that the government can better control the chaos/looters/etc and really focus on rescuing people and giving proper assistance to those in dire need.

  7. It’s so incredibly sad and devastating to see the destruction that has come upon the Filipino people. As was mentioned above, if it weren’t for the reading requirement in this class to keep up with the news I would not have known that a natural disaster had occurred in the Philippines. It’s so interesting what ends up making the news as far as social media is concerned (where far too many people get their news.) It seems to me that the government in the Philippines is not doing all it can do to help its people, but then again, I don’t know or understand their government 100%. The US is generally very good at stepping up to the plate and providing aid and relied when needed. Is it our responsibility? Maybe not directly, but we have the ability to help so why shouldn’t we? It is apparent that their government is struggling because it is not as solid and put together as a more westernized and modernized country is. As a country we have so much, so we might as well provide help to these people who have just faced so much tragedy and certainly need help getting back on their feet.

  8. Natural calamities are catastrophic for the people, the country and its economy. It is specially hard when the country lacks infra-structure and is not ready for possible tragedies. Its is impossible to predict exactly when natural disasters will occur, or the extent to which they will affect the community. However, careful planning can lessen the effects of a disaster and help the country to more effectively respond to it. An example is how Japan recovered from the tsunami in 2011. Since they had a history of of severe earthquakes, its citizens and companies made considerable preparations. The country struggled but was able to rebuilt damaged roads and buildings.The economy was obviously affected and is still recovering. Unlike Japan the Philippines were less prepared and the effects are worse. There is no doubt no one could have predict a destruction of such magnitude. Yet, some more preparation might have made somethings different.

    In situations like this one, aid (in all its forms) is essencial. However, the idea of untrained foreign civilians volunteering to rescue and help at the location is absurd. They would only make things worse. That is why institutions such as the Red Cross and the U.S. marines send trained teams to help. It is great to see so many countries and organizations getting involved and donating considerable quantities of money for a noble cause.

  9. It’s such a disaster when countries that are developing suffer unexpected threats from nature. The Philippines are one of the fastest developing countries in Southeast Asia, and this typhoon has had such tragic impacts in their lives and economy. It is interesting to consider the resolutions that the UN has passed and worked on that have to do with natural disaster relief.
    It is possible to claim that maybe our world would have different economic powers if some countries didn’t suffer such terrible disasters. Brazil is a country that doesn’t suffer much from earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural disasters, and that might be a reason as to why it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The Philippines will have to rely on foreign aid to recover from the effects of this storm, and plans must be made to minimize loss in future occurrences.

  10. Weak government, infrastructure, and poverty make catastrophes like this even harder to deal with. According to an article posted on LDS Newsroom, access to the Tacloban area is very limited. Roads are blocked, water is contaminated, power is out, and communication is down. There are so many problems that it is difficult to know what the priorities should be.
    Recently I visited Northern Colorado, where major flooding occurred a few months ago, I was able to talk to a candy store owner that had been directly affected. Her store was flooded, leaving several inches of mud everywhere in the building. As we talked I noticed that she was strong and very aware of the environment around her. I assume that her strength and awareness come from the hardship of the flood- maybe she had personal growth because of it. I hope the best for the people of Tacloban.

  11. According to some of my research, the United States received a great amount of offered support following the disaster of Hurricane Katrina (though the US initially turned down all offers for aid). It is comforting to know that in times of trouble, even superpowers can count on the offered help of their international neighbors. It does make one wonder where our world would be if less money were allocated for spying programs, weapons development, and bureaucratic tape. The potential for real, selfless international cooperation is there. But it ought to be recognized that even the most charitable decisions are motivated by self-gain. Should we reflect on whether or not a reallocation of funds and focus is in order for ours an other nations? Yes. Will we put more of a focus on charitable aid and international humanitarian efforts? No. And it is very unfortunate that such is the case.

  12. In response to oliviaronna, all missionaries have been accounted for, some a little more scraped up than others but all alive. However, the mission has been closed, and the mission home was absolutely devastated–truly a miracle that all missionaries are safe.
    It’s hard to imagine the occurrence of such a disaster when we are so far removed from the circumstances of the Philippines–a developing country, surrounded by ocean, accustomed to disaster yet facing an entirely unanticipated event. My family has our little emergency kits in the garage, but we’ve never had occasion to use them. Beyond the physical suffering and the grief over the dead, my heart goes out to the survivors who see no relief in sight for their remaining family members. Those who survive are surely living in a state of absolute panic over the uncertainty of the future. Despite the high demand for humanitarian aid in the world as of late, it truly is the human thing to offer what help we can, even if it hurts a little. We would most definitely want the same offered to us.

  13. Every time that there is a natural disaster of this scale, it shocks the world. It is incredibly sad that the people of the Philippines have to be subject to so much destruction. While the Philippine government did not seem as prepared for this disaster as we would hope that they would be, there has been a shockingly quick response from other nations to provide aid. The UN itself has been able to bring supplies and aid to the Philippines fairly quickly and I am sure that the people of the Philippines are so grateful for that. This disaster is interesting too because everyone in the US seems to think that it is great that the US is so willing to offer aid, though they are upset that the government would want to offer aid to those suffering in Syria, though the citizens of Syria are suffering too due to circumstances that they cannot control any more than a typhoon.

  14. It is really sad to watch how delayed the response from the international community has been. Some have responded immediately, but not on the scale that is needed. There are still villages and communities farther in-land that have not received any aid of any kind. There are still bodies lying on the streets, virtually no power, and many people are going without food and water. There was a really inspiring article in today’s NYT that talked about individual and churches that have risen to the occasion and provided much of the city’s relief.

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