Neglect and Decay Combine with Nature to Devastate Manila
Oct. 8, 2009 (LPAC)–The Philippines remains crippled from the effects of massive tropical storm “Ondoy” that dropped as much as 15 inches of rain on metropolitan Manila nearly two weeks ago. Massive flooding directly killed as many as 300 with widespread damage to houses, businesses, schools, infrastructure, etc. Hundreds of thousands became homeless.
A power station transformer was damaged and half the city is subject to rotating three-hour black-outs lest the whole electrical grid be lost.
The already collapsing economy leaves the country unable to meet the disaster. With damage to crops in the field and in storage, the government has gone back into the international market to buy rice and feedstuffs. Thousands are still in makeshift camps and shelters, living on sardines and instant noodles. No serious epidemics have yet been reported, except for a generalized prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders.
An attempt to reopen schools on Monday met with disaster. In one case, only three children showed up, carrying water damaged books. That was a good thing; the school was still overflowing with refugee inhabitants from the neighborhood.
A second storm, a full fledged typhoon, hit the northern tip of Luzon island, about 300 miles from Manila, a week after Ondoy, and has stayed stationary off the coast dumping rain on the sodden island for several days. The storms, while particularly intense, are not unusual for this time of year, and are less severe than others recorded in the past.
One major reason for the extent of damage in the Manila area is the build up of extensive shanty towns on the shore of an adjacent lake. Not only did the lake rise and cover the extensive hovels of the poor, but the very building of the shanty town had blocked most of what sewers and other drainage served the remainder of the city.
Ex-president Fidel Ramos, buddy and co-conspirator with George Shultz in the takedown of the last decent Philippines President, Ferdinand Marcos, added the capping touch. Speaking of the May 2010 elections, he advised the population yesterday, “Vote for someone … who is truly in favor of environmental protection and sustainable development.” Then you can be assured such disasters never end.