|Cebu, The Philippines (Photo: The Washington Post )|
This week, many of the countries of the world have had to mobilize assets, NGOs and other agencies in an attempt to save as many people in parts of the Philippines as possible. One of the worst typhoons in recorded history hit parts of the Philippines and the estimates were that ten thousand people may have lost their lives. My publisher has a branch in the Philippines and some of the publishing staff resides there. Fortunately, the people with whom I communicate are fine.
Most of the time, we can plan for the potential disasters that are most likely to occur in our area. In the Northeast, one can prepare for Noreasters. In Florida, one makes sure they are ready for hurricanes. In California, thought is given to earthquake preparation. In Kansas, plans are made in anticipation of tornadoes. I'm sure that many people in the Philippines would like to have prepared for this, but this was a storm of such magnitude that in many places, preparations would have been inadequate. Home destruction, flooding, long term destruction of infrastructure and geographic isolation worsened by the event itself and the decimation of area communications made this a disaster for which no one could fully prepare. England has given a fair amount of money. The US has also send money. Even China, who has had some diplomatic problems with the Philippines secondary to some territorial water disputes, wisely revised its original figure of one hundred thousand dollars to the disaster and has now given just under two million.
Certainly, if you can, please give some money to a reputable group which plans to serve people in the Philippines. Even if they survive the initial storm, dehydration, water shortages, food shortages, and disease will kill babies, children, the elderly and adults in the aftermath.
This also should serve to make you consider your own plans for a regional disaster. In the US, most homes are constructed more durably than many Filipino homes, but earthquakes and other disasters can destroy dwellings here as well. Don't fail to plan for the most likely disasters in your own region.