Thursday, 21 November 2013

Haiyan Aftermath

The Philippines experiences some 21 typhoons a year. Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on Friday, 8 November 2013. Less than 2 weeks on (today is 21 November 2013), we still hear news of widespread disaster and the victims are trying their best to continue living under very trying conditions. Children cry everywhere. The people are left hungry in the cold, scrounging among the rubble to find anything edible or useful. Temporary shelters on broken buildings and zinc sheets shade some fortunate families from the rain. Some neighbours have drowned and perished right in front of the ones alive today. Rotting bodies lie by the roadsides in plastics mortuary bags, awaiting mass burial. Mass burial is slow as there are not enough hands to assist. Hospitals cannot operate as they are in ruins. The Filipinos depend on outside aid to make life good again. When can all these end? I don't know. It may take more than 2 years, that's what the experts say.

Why did typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines?

In Facebook, there is a video that tells what happened before typhoon Haiyan struck. It showed the grievances of a group of people with kopiah - they are Muslim men. They were complaining that some non Muslims had come to use the mosque when they prayed. Then the mosque was demolished by bulldozers and burned. After that incidence, typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines.

Was typhoon Haiyan a wrath of God?

People have mixed feelings about Haiyan. To the Muslim mass, Haiyan was 'wrath paid in cash' and others reserved what they thought about Haiyan. It is very painful to view entire videos and TV programs about the aftermath of Haiyan in the Philippines, but there are lessons human beings need to learn ie, to respect others and their faiths.

What can we do about Haiyan's victims?

The Malaysian Government has sent its army to assist. They include the army field hospital. But that was in the part of the Philippines least hit by Haiyan, so it is easy to put back the state to normality. Tacloban was hardest hit and most featured in many TV programs and in the news. I am surprised to come to know that there is so much wood and wooden articles among the rubble. There is very little remains of brick structures. I don't know how long it will take for Tacloban to fully recover. I suppose plastic tents and temporary small wooden homes will help. There should be satellite photos of Tacloban before Haiyan, so that the people helping out would know where the roads should be repaved or rebuilt, and where temporary houses need to be set up or tents pitched. For now everything is a big mess.

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