Last week we wrote about the super-massive typhoon Haiyan that slammed into the Philippines. Many feared the worst, and it seems like that's what we got. It will take a while to be sure of the extent of the damage, and it'll take even longer to rebuild, but so far things look quite bad. President Benigno Aquino has declared a "state of national calamity", and up to 10,000 people are feared to have been killed by the storm, with more than 9 million affected in the country. Many are now struggling to survive without food, shelter or clean drinking water.
The BBC reports:
Tacloban is one of the worst affected cities. The BBC's Jon Donnison, who is there, says there does not yet seem to be an effective operation to get help to those in need.This is expected to change over the next few days, he says.
Hundreds of thousands more people have been displaced after the high winds and floodwaters destroyed their homes. Damage to roads and airports has delayed the delivery of aid.
Here's some footage of the destruction from the BBC:
The BBC again:
A picture is slowly emerging of the full damage wrought by the storm:
-The exposed easterly town of Guiuan, Samar province - population 40,000 - is said to be largely destroyed
-Tacloban, Leyte province, was largely flattened by a massive storm surge and scores of corpses are piled by the roadside, leaving a stench in the air as they rot, say correspondents. Hundreds of people have gathered at the airport desperate for food and water, others trying to get a flight out
-Disaster worker Dennis Chong told the BBC that assessments in the far north of Cebu province had shown some towns had suffered "80-90% damage"
-Baco, a city of 35,000 in Oriental Mindoro province, was 80% under water, the UN said.
Now's the time to bring help to those whose lives have been turned upside down, but when things calm down, I think we should see this typhoon as one more warning that maybe our experiment with the atmosphere (pumping billions of tons of greenhouse gases into it) is probably making these storms worse. As I wrote on friday:
"Scientists will say that it's impossible to link a single weather event to climate change, and so we can't be certain if without the warming of our planet's atmosphere and oceans super typhoon Haiyan would've been weaker. But we do know that warm water is hurricane and typhoon fuel, so it's not such a stretch to ask the question, especially after the series of record-breaking storms that we've seen in the past decade."