Saturday, December 04, 2004

Tragedy In The Philippines

I have been greatly affected this week by the heart-rending events in the Philippines where many close friends live. The scale of the human loss is simply numbing: more than 1,000 are dead or unaccounted for; a further 170,000 are stricken by the severe flooding following the two fierce typhoons that ravaged the Pacific coast. People are running out of food and medicines. Of course, the Philippines and other countries in the region are not unused to such "natural" catastrophes. If there is anything hopeful to come out of this latest one it is the growing realisation that human agency is also greatly to blame: the rapacious activities of the logging companies and the idiocies of a government locked into unsustainable development policies. We've been here before, of course. Mike Davis's brilliant Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino, Famines, and the Making of the Third World reminds us of today's events as the tragic reiteration of an historical era. The link is the cruel and ongoing folly of local and international ruling elites.


Blogger ali ciencia said...

watching the tragedy on tv, i was reminded of the earthquake that struck baguio in 1990. like the casualties of the typhoon,the recovered bodies of the quake victims were gathered and lined up on a designated area. looking back, i can't help but say that the victims of the recent typhoon had a more tragic fate -- the quake victims atleast had blankets to cover their bodies...

11:59 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Philippines has experienced some of the worst tragedies ever, but none of these seem sufficient to frighten businessmen and politicians into desisting from avariciousness.
A couple of examples:
In 1991, raging floodwaters from a minor storm swept across Ormoc City, Leyte, killing more than 4,000 people. Vivid images of dump trucks scooping up the bodies of flood victims remain a grim reminder of the consequences of environmental degradation. Experts attributed the tragedy to the degradation of Ormoc City's nearby forests, cleared to open up lands for the cultivation of sugarcane, a crop that weakens the soil's absorptive capacity.
In a heavy downpour in August 1999, a landslide ploughed into Cherry Hills Subdivision in Antipolo City, Rizal, claiming 58 lives and destroying around 400 houses. The landslide was blamed on forest denudation, as well as faulty planning. Geologists from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau said the subdivision was constructed in an area not suitable for infrastructure because of the "porous" nature of the site's underground rock structure. This "porous" character allows the easy seepage of water which can destabilize the area's underground rock structure.

Full article here:

Terrible when you see actual video footage unedited from the scenes ...

11:40 am  
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