According to the Irish Times and other sources, mobs of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan have swamped US choppers as they try to deliver aid to the desolate country. Add to that stories of looters and general aftershock it has become a daunting task for rescue agencies to deliver the services and needs to the people there. The enormous rescue effort involving many countries from around the world is moving as fast as possible as disease and other problems set in. With no control over the mobs however the risk of greater injury and impairment arise.
Overall, the Philippines and that region get hit with numerous typhoons and big storms each year. This typhoon however is the biggest storm ever recorded on Earth and its devastating effect. Had this been a major population area with a storm surge this big the damage would have been incomprehensible. The winds were strong but the country for the most part like Japan during the big earthquake a few years back survived the winds, it was the storm surge that did the most damage. These storms and quakes take their toll on two fronts, water damage and bad construction of homes and buildings. The Philippines is another country that shirks at building structures to withstand disasters. Like in the great quake that hit Haiti a few years ago bad construction had buildings falling in on people and pipes and electrical wires ripped out. As long as bad construction or construction not developed to withstand these natural events more people will be injured or killed and the mounting costs of repair and rescue will rise. There’s no telling how long it will take to rebuild the Philippines as there is no way they can repair all the damage before next year’s typhoon season hits. It will take President Aquino to realize he’ll have to rethink the way the country is laid out in order to recover.
Scientists and engineers now see that water, the tsunamis and surges are things not to be sneezed at. Thousands of people have been killed by the water over the past 10 years and building sea walls is the only solution at present. Countries are reticent to construct them as fear of losing tourist dollars. It’s a matter of saving lives comes first or not. In the case of Fukushima the sea wall wasn’t constructed to proper spec and untold damage was due to the nuclear reactor there that is still a major potential threat to life on Earth.
It behooves the world powers to start thinking in bigger terms.