Currently there are areas which are completely isolated. After the hurricane passed, there was no way to know the status of these areas. There is no functioning communication for these people.
Just yesterday the headlines started out with something like "8 confirmed dead" then it went up to "100 confirmed dead" and of course now the numbers are exploding. Getting a solid grasp on the level of destruction and which areas need the most help takes time.
I'm seeing that the Philippines is starting to put out the call for help. I imagine that call will be answered.
I took part in the 2008 humanitarian relief det when Typhoon Fengshen hit land, and our response time was about seven hours from the time we got the phone call and had planes and helos on the ground delivering supplies and providing medical care.
Those response times are largely based on how quickly we can get supplies from USAID, and receive an actual request for assistance.
The deterrence point of doing it instantly is that you can show just how fast and how hard an amphibious force can deploy. That's pretty much the only value of an amphibious force like the doctrinal mission of the Marines anymore; they'll never do an opposed amphibious landing with a long lead up, due to ATGMs/etc. being so effective.
One of the best things the US Military has ever done for our national security in the war on terror was helping out pretty substantially after the Kashmir 2005 earthquake -- there were helicopters in the air hours after it hit, from the US and UK forces in Afghanistan.
The last time we had ships stationed there, admittedly 20 years ago, they were VERY happy to see us go.
Yes, strictly humanitarian and all that, but...
Even though we don't have any "permanent" bases (which is up for discussion) in the Philippines, we still have very strong military ties with them.
Are you suggesting that there is excess money for something like this in the Navy budget? There are an unlimited number of things that we could do to make the world better and we can't do all of them. Like in business you have to undertake a cost/benefit analysis and see if it makes sense then to do or not. Not to mention how many people die in this country that would live if that money was spent here?
In general we should basically do anything do anything less than billions to win over Vietnam, PI, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and show our alliance with SK, Japan, and Taiwan, and build friendship with China. A billion invested in that probably is 10b in expected savings in avoiding future war.
"I do this good thing for you because it makes me feel better about my contribution to the world".
Likewise when the U.S. engaged in the Marshall Plan way back when, there were very obvious ulterior motives for the U.S. (a bulwark against Communist spread, expansion of the U.S. economy to supply our Western European allies, etc.), but that didn't invalidate the actual physical assistance rendered either.
The primary constraint seems to be infrastructure to evacuate and shelter people. Reliable forecast of storm surge location and magnitude would save lives by allocating those resources to the correct places. Doing this well involves improved simulation methods, but also designing observational strategies, such as where to make more accurate measurements of bathymetry (one of the leading sources of uncertainty in storm surge and tsunami prediction). Disclaimer: I work in a related field and have colleagues that develop methods for storm surge forecast.
The three biggest needs to prevent a large death-toll from something like this:
1. Education regarding effects of disasters (e.g. what a storm surge is, what areas are likely to be affected by landslides, etc.)
2. Basic first aid medication (having seen my fair share of misadventure in the Philippines, I can confidently say that a subsidized boy scout-style training program would work wonders there)
3. Instructions for putting together 72-hour crash bags, which should be kept in convenient locations (this is a good idea generally -- no matter where one lives a calamity could occur, and having copies of important documents/candles/matches/clean water can make a huge difference).
Now I'm based in another country but I have lots of relatives in the area that was in the path of the storm. Also, this estimate came from just one area (although the worst hit). We are a hardy people but to get this every year coupled with the stress of knowing your officials are stealing a fair bit of what could have been used to help... well, kind of pulls you down.
I'm not sure there's a whole lot you can do to 'damage proof' territory like this, other than simply abandoning outlying parts of it and hoping they act as a sea wall (and with a ~90m population, you also have the problem of where to put those people). Their options really are limited, especially in the face of record breaking weather events. Consider that if this storm had hit the Maldives it would almost certainly have wiped out the entire country, permanently.
I mean 10K, that is just beyond devastating, it should be front page news for months. We lost 1800 with Katrina.
That part of the world is being devastated.
It is also the fifth deadliest natural disaster since 1900.
A large proportion of those killed were children.
There were no deaths in The Philippines from the tsunami.
News is a tough problem. Editors don't want to put the same story on the front page with headline permutations because it will alienate readers. People supporting an agenda, or people who want coverage (brands and celebs), need to create news-worthy events to maintain coverage.
U.S. offers aid, sends teams to help typhoon-ravaged Philippines
That was also posted Saturday, along with several other stories on US "news" sites, the same date as the Guardian article. So, the US should have reported this earlier? On Friday? Hehehe.
And I wouldn't describe this as falling by the wayside. The US is actively doing something. It seems whatever news sources you are reading aren't properly informing you?
But no, I understand, it's far easier to bash the US with meaningless slights while at the same time lamenting people focusing on other things. It's almost hypocritical.
As a Puerto Rican in a thread about natural disasters I don't know what you're talking about.
We could send more, but a majority of the population is in debt or living check to check. (You could appeal to the folks that live in 27,000 sq ft houses and spend $300k annually on their electric bills, but they are busy doing more important things.)
I'm located in the southern end of Negros Oriental, which was under warning signal 3 (out of 4) but we were on the edge of the storm. We got off very light. If it weren't for the news, we wouldn't have even thought that we might be affected by a typhoon.
Unfortunately, the Philippines isn't like Japan, where the country can mobilize the resources to make the country highly resistant to it's own nemesis of nature, earthquakes. Many of the people here live in bamboo / wooden structures which stand no chance against a strong typhoon. The most vulnerable are also the poorest. In Dumaguete, minimum wage is the equivalent of $6 per day, but that's a well paying job. Most businesses here use loopholes to pay employees half the minimum wage. The people who have lost their entire towns in the Philippines have no resources, nothing to eat and nowhere to go. There is no no longer a functioning economy. All they can do is wait for help.
I don't know if this has anything to do with global warning, but in the five years I have lived here, our area has been hit with two devastating typhoons in the past three years. Before that, strong typhoons hitting our area were rare. Though we dodged this bullet, the above mentioned typhoons hit us head on. If this is something that the Philippines can regularly expect due to changes in weather, then large portions of the country could become unlivable without huge changes.
This is the sort of area where we could really use some innovation. Typhoons bring a double threat of high winds and floods. Add volcanoes and earthquakes (just a few weeks ago we got hit with a 7.2 earthquake) and the Philippines is among the most dangerous places to live on the planet. We need low cost structures which can shield people from high winds, floods and earthquakes. Sure, we can hide in a shelter, but we can't deal with the possibility of losing our house and possessions every year.
Edit: Changed tornado to typhoon.Facepalm
Edit2: Recovery also can take a long time in the Philippines. Not far from where I live is an area with temporary structures (basically a squatter area) which was setup to be temporary. A year later and this area is still full. I suppose Katrina was similar with the temporary housing situation, but in this case we are talking a flimsy bamboo / wooden structure with plastic tarps on the sides. These structures could easily get wiped out by one of the 20 yearly typhoons which hit the Philippines every year.
Also, the people of New Orleans at least have government safety nets. The mayor of our city, Dumaguete, set aside something like $9,000 as an emergency fund in anticipation of Yolanda. Like I said, not a lot of resources here.
Compounding that, these strong storms are extremely hard to defend against. When I heard that Hayian was a strong Class 5 hurricane equivalent, it sent a chill down my spine. Perspective: I recall a homeowner returning to a non-waterfront home after one of the "big" Class 4's that hit southern Florida. His house was nominally still standing. The roof was gone, nothing was left inside except stick-sized debris. The non-support walls, framing, even the plumbing had all been destroyed. The paint had been scoured off of the cinderblock exterior support walls.
It's difficult to get one's head around the power and destructive capability of these storms.
Cinder blocks - yes, I believe that is mostly what they do there.
It is possible to adapt to typhoons. It does require resources.
I find it difficult to live in a wooden structure Stateside whenever storms arise. Ignorance is bliss.
The typhoon past us with about a distance of 190km from the eye and was anticipated to hit us first. We were issued with a signal 4 warning at Category 5 as it passed the northern parts around 2-3am. Yolanda didn't really make an real impact on the island - We only lost communications and electricity from about 9pm to 6pm the next day, had some minor roads flooded and little damage on property.
My best guess is that we got the backspin of the storm and was left with out great damage.
Before the storm past, tourists were leaving, locals were deciding to either stay or evacuate to higher grounds inland and expats tried to follow. There was problems leaving the island by boat because of the big waves and airplanes had already aborted landing on Monday.
The risk was that either being hit by mudslides because of the expected 100mm rainfall, or being trapped inside of your house due the strong winds and storm surge.
Everyone seemed well informed and took appropriate action well before Yolanda would possibly hit us. We stocked up on water and food enough for a couple of days on Wednesday, on Thursday the concrete house i'm staying at got packed with people trying to get safe/shelter.
At night, Yolanda made its presence with wind and heavy rain, but thanks to low tide, we where lucky to stay un-flooded by the additional (reported) 5.5m sea-level rise.
A few hours later, it hit Tacloban/Samar (200km from us) and destroyed a lot in its path. The towns/islands where effected so hard because of high tide, which enabled the flooding.
I want to make clear that, the Government/Community/WeatherStations did a great job informing the residencies about the possible dangers.
A lot of people did evacuate, but as I said before, there was only choices between uncertainty available. I will mention that the locals here seem to have become accustom to the weather due to the ~20 typhoons/storms per year, and also seem to take it a bit lighter then they sometimes should. The weather can shift and the typhoons direction can change in an instant, hitting the least expected areas.
Im just hoping that the incoming storm wont make to difficult for the Philippines to recover! We are already preparing and are discussing possible options/evacuation plans.
My thoughts goes to those who have lost or are missing family and friends.
(I was looking at being in Cebu or Leyte for diving last week, but my ear was slightly sore so I went to Bangkok first instead. Pretty happy about that.)
Rather than compare anecdotes though, look at some actual data: http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2012/results/
(USA is ranked 17; Philippines is 105. Lower is better.)
I've always had this theory that one at least partial explanation for the differing economic states of different cultures is ability to properly assess risks and prepare for them accordingly. If every <x> years a typhoon is going to come along and wipe out <y>% of your infrastructure putting the affected regions of the country back to square one yet again, coming up with a workable solution to that should be a super high priority. If your work is constantly going into relatively persistent projects and you can minimize setbacks, standard of living constantly increases over time and generations.
Cindercrete blocks are the first thing that come to my mind, but maybe that's too expensive? Could some sort of reinforcement mechanism (perhaps anchored to the ground, providing strength but still allowing movement/flexibility) for bamboo huts be designed that uses affordable cabling such that they could withstand the force without disintegrating?
Personally, I'd be more likely to donate money if there was a specific engineering cause like this that I knew it was going to, rather than just general relief to recreate the same environment that will simply be wiped out again next time. Wrong way to think perhaps, but so be it. Charity success is partially a marketing problem, and this is a way to approach it that I think would have some success. If you could sponsor a specific family (as you can with children in Africa) for some housing upgrades, and get some photos in return, I think a lot of people over here with excess money might share a bit of it.
Yes, obviously I don't know all the parameters involved, and it's easy for me as a rich white male on the other side of the world to armchair quarterback, but I simply don't believe that everything that can be done is being done - over here we have our own solvable problems that we will never solve, for different reasons, so I don't think it's racist to believe that just perhaps, people in the Phillipines aren't undertaking the 100% optimal solution to their problems.
EDIT: I read below:
It's worth reiterating that for all the obvious destructive power of sustained wind speeds of almost 200mph, it was the associated storm surge – the rush of water into coastal areas – which caused the worst damage in Tacloban, and most likely many of the deaths. The storm surge in Tacloban was estimated at 6m, sweeping away even concrete buildings, and bringing the sort of devastation so reminiscent of the Indian Ocean tsunami.
Storm surges washing away even concrete structures.....now that's depressing. So now what? Can we affordably elevate everyone's shelter? But 6 metres? Not a chance. If 6m stomr surges are somewhat common, I just don't know how that are can be considered habitable. I have no idea if there is somewhere else those people could be relocated to. Oh man it's a tough problem.
This is correct. Yet Miami is hit by a hurricane every seven years on average, and they don't manage to move the power lines underground, instead preferring to hang the wire above ground again every time it's blown down, and charging the population for the privilege of having electric power. They also rebuilt New Orleans in areas where they shouldn't, and still cannot put proper sea defenses in where they ought to.
But when Bangladesh, then East Pakistan, was hit in 1970 by the great 1970 cyclone, the incident that triggered Independence, they managed to put in concrete storm shelters. These things helped to save many lives in the subsequent years.
Guys, anyone at home? Civil defense is a political problem, it seems.
Another problem for poor nations is the initial capital cost complicating the decision of building cheap and fragile vs expensive and resilient. Sometimes they simply don't have the money. Sometimes they do but the genuine uncertainty of another typhoon of this magnitude makes it too difficult to make the commitment. Other times they're perhaps not even thinking in this way at all.
I don't think this is an engineering problem. This is a political issue - it would be too difficult to find the money for the conversion, even more so, since in the US taxes are locally raised and spent. Try finding sufficient funds to get the work done in, say, Opa-Locka, or try to raise funds in Palmetto Bay to pay for Homestead.
Sea level goes up in a hurricane, way up. And the only thing worse than freshwater flood for underground wires is saltwater. And if the ground mounted transformers are flooded and destroyed you're losing power. And once power is cut, the power co can't just flip a switch without burning down the whole city, because flood damage means 0.1% of houses will catch fire and the fire dept is already busy with their own issues not to mention trees in the road and such.
It's a fantastic book. I probably re-reread it once a year.
Edit: Yep, that's you. I have you in my contacts list. I will send you another email. ;)
Edit Edit: And yes, for those of you reading this comment, this is an indication of how small the tech world here is, even in a decent sized city in the Philippines.
Nature disasters are just side show in human life at this point.
In a disaster of this nature, supply lines are wiped out. Hospitals are gone. First responders, to the extent there are any, are overwhelmed. It's hard to get food. Sanitary systems, to the extent they existed in the first place, are gone. Communication systems are gone. This is all going to have incredible impact, even in a less-developed country. The disaster affects entire communities for several years at least. No car wreck has this sort of impact.
Your community, your system, is able to absorb the deaths which happen within that community. People in your community die from old age, traffic accidents, disease and many other ways, but the wheels of the system keep spinning. In the case of the Philippines, the recent tsunamis and other large scale natural disasters, entire communities were obliterated. These systems have completely broken down. In Leyte, 10,000 people died, but the system which supported tens of thousands more living is broken.
The local economy for many of these people has been pushed back to the stone ages. The rich still have their bank accounts intact. They can jump on a plane and start over somewhere else. The poor don't have this option. There is no functioning system there to support the people who have to stay there. They have nothing to eat, no money for medicine, nowhere to live and they are completely dependent on a government with relatively little resources. Restoring this system will take months if not years. Many people will never fully recover. Future generations will get held back from what they could have been. There's not much of a safety net here.
ETA: And sure, the ripples of this shock won't go much further than the borders of the Philippines. But I think Fukishima might be a good counter to your "natural disasters as a side show" argument. We don't yet know how much this disaster will affect us. It could do serious long term damage to the ecosystem of the Pacific ocean. Could the world see mass cancer from eating fish in the Pacific ocean?
This is equivalent the population to small neighborhood all dying at once. In addition to destruction caused.
Regardless of the cause, large amounts of loss of human life in a single event are still considered significant. The reverberating effects throughout the neighboring communities are perhaps most noticeable. You are removing an entire node from a graph, rather than individual leaves.
In other words, the deaths in the Philippines are bad enough, but there are millions of people still alive and put into great distress as we speak. And it's not as if it's their fault (which was the argument brought up for Katrina as well...), it's not as if they can be safe if they move to Japan (as if there were either the funding or political will for that).
The same is in this situation - while help is needed in restoring the communities and sheltering survivors; in the long run anyway those "common killers" should be a priority for the same Philippines communitities, not overly focusing on typhoon-safety.
And the 10 000 dead isn't the number that should be emphasised above others - the main pain in this disaster is the millions of wounded and displaced; I wouldn't be surprised if the death toll of these displacement consequences (malnutrition, disease, etc) is larger than from the initial impact.
If disaster taps on your neighborhood window, I suspect you would sing a different tune.
Because the people who died were poor, this accident adds net positive emotional entertainment value to the life of typical consumer.
Not to be cynical, but I imagine if they were rich celebrities it'd add even more dubious 'entertainment' value.
Fixed that for you.
When I was telling her about the storm, I realized that people are that more exposed to natural disasters since they don't usually store food. At least in her surrounding, people buy food off the market everyday and don't have reserves, leaving them completely exposed to any disaster affecting food supplies.
The U.S. military announced that Secretary Chuck Hagel has directed troops to support these humanitarian missions. That includes deploying aircraft for search-and-rescue missions, bringing in aid and providing logistical support.
The U.S. force will be led by Marines out of Okinawa, Japan, according to two U.S. military officials. Other military services will participate.
Less than 20 people died.
How this could have been avoided is likely a touchy subject at the moment. Even the president walked out of his meeting with the local officials to cool his head off from great dismay.
You can't get good info from the news and of course any government will has its own agenda to look good. Getting good data from 3rd world countries is also hard.
We took a direct hit (eye passed over the city) from what was at one time the equivalent of a cat 5 hurricane (Pablo) in the southern part of Negros Oriental in the Philippines last year. I don't know what strength it was by the time it got to us, but the winds were pretty damn scary. Fortunately, this typhoon was mostly wind and not much rain. The typhoon created a mess, but we were largely back to normal in one day.
The year previous to Pablo, we got hit by Sendong which seemed like the opposite of Pablo. There wasn't much wind, but the rain was heavy and steady for something like 10 hours. That rain created much more destruction and lost lives than the winds from Pablo.
So, each typhoon has its own personality. You can't do an apples to apples comparison from one storm to another. It's typical of media to make such a comparison.
The Philippines also has some logistical difficulties that India may not have. It's an archipelago of over 7,000 islands and a very poor country. India has its poor areas also, but the nation as a whole has far more resources.
The Philippines did make an effort to evacuate people and clearly the nation could have better prepared. There is always more that you can do. I don't know how this area in India compares to the Philippines, but we get hit with an average of something like 20 typhoons every year. The Philippines is among the most dangerous places on the planet for natural disasters.
Shelters a great for saving lives, and that's the most important, but it also sucks to lose your house and all your belongings. If someone is looking for a world changing innovation, then figuring out a way to make a cheap structure which could withstand the sorts of natural disasters that the Philippines gets hit with regularly would be huge.
> Most of the deaths appear to have been caused by surging seas that resembled a tsunami, flattening buildings and drowning hundreds, according to Reuters.
This supports what I mentioned earlier. The wind is bad, but in a typhoon, it's water which really ratchets up the number of casualties. Comparing winds speeds of two different typhoons isn't necessarily comparing the most destructive components.
It's easy to make armchair judgements and comparison when not armed with all the facts.
The truth is, the country will always have issues (bureaucracy, corruption, etc) dealing with these natural disasters, but combatting poverty will go much further in avoiding loss of life. The vast majority of those affected have a hand to mouth existence and have basically no choice but to live in areas that put them in the highest risk (low lying, coastal, flood prone) in structures that are all but guaranteed to fail in a storm.
Phailin maxed out at 160 mph.
That's quite a lot of difference.
That's insane. I'm sure it would rip out most testing equipment. I've seen the damage from similar micro-bursts (<200mph) in the US and nothing is left standing. And I mean nothing alive. Complete devastation. It would look like thos pictures from when the meteor hit Siberian in the early 20th century. A mess of matchsticks.
edit: updated info
Haiyan attained its peak intensity with ten-minute sustained winds of 235 km/h (145 mph)
one-minute sustained winds of 315 km/h (195 mph) and gusts up to 378 km/h (235 mph)
Still a record, but the sustained winds are more in the mid 100's rather than approaching 200. Immensely strong peak gusts. 10 minutes of that at peak energy must have seemed like a lifetime. There is no natural shelter in these situations. Truly, truly dangerous.
Edit2: like here> http://forums.mammothmountain.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=12869...
> Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines at 4am local time today with winds near 195 mph, making it the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded world history, according to satellite estimates. That astounding claim will need to be verified by actual measurements at ground level, which should be collected over the coming days.
> The storm (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) has officially maxed out the Dvorak scale, which is used to measure strong strength using satellites. That means Haiyan has approached the theoretical maximum intensity for any storm, anywhere. From the latest NOAA bulletin:
Here is a wikipedia link to the Dvorak scale.
"The best way to help a disaster victim is through a financial donation to the Red Cross. Financial contributions allow the Red Cross to purchase exactly what is needed for the disaster relief operation. Monetary donations also enable the Red Cross to purchase relief supplies close to the disaster site which avoids delays and transportation costs in getting basic necessities to disaster victims. Because the affected area has generally experienced significant economic loss, purchasing relief supplies in or close to the disaster site also helps to stimulate the weakened local economy."
Find a local charity.
The Red Cross is HORRIBLY inefficient and wasteful. Your money is buying them furniture.
edit: fifthly: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary...
(note all the resignations are different people!)
and there was a huge scandal where they used emergency fund donations to buy furniture for their offices - having trouble finding it right now
Luckily for them, they are far away from where the typhoon hit, but in terms of moving some money there, providing some work for people has funneled several orders of magnitude more cash into the country than what I could provide as charity.
Getting it beyond the port is the hard part, but carriers have a few tools that might help with that.
Google PersonFinder (http://google.org/personfinder/2013-yolanda/query?role=seek)
alternate source for Google PersonFinder (http://google.org/personfinder/global/home.html)
Red Cross request for help restoring contact (http://familylinks.icrc.org/en/pages/home.aspx)
If you would like to donate, here are some organizations that could use your help:
Red Cross Philippines (http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate) via Paypal
Ayala Foundation's 'Laging Handa Fund' (Always Ready), overseas donors can use this online portal(http://feedthehungryphil.org/ayala-foundation-inc/) for donations
GlobalGiving.com(http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/philippines-disaster-re...). Credit and debit card donations accepted.
Save the Children (http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.885610...). Save the Children has a team on the ground in Tacloban working to respond to this emergency.
Now, unfortunately we wait for lack of sanitation, clean water and associated disease to take their much higher toll.
The situation report has the following information:
2,055,630 families or 9,497,847 persons were affected.
The number of confirmed casualties is still low, at 229. This number will inevitably increase drastically when response efforts proceed and communication lines are repaired.
The number of damaged houses is currently at 19,551 (13,191 have been totally destroyed)
A state of calamity has been declared in the province of Antique, as well as in Janiuay and Dumangas in the province of Iloilo
Flooding, landslides, and fallen trees blocked several roads, but most are now passable thanks to ongoing clearing operations *Several networks are still down but are in the process of being restored
Now that the typhoon has devastated the philippines, the international community is sending aid, money, resources. Why can't the same be done before a disaster like this hits? I'm sure the millions pouring in now could have gone a long way to evacuate people or set up shelters, dams, pumps, before it killed 10,000+
And for the financially minded bureaucrat, I'd guess preventive measures would possibly cost less as well.
Sadly, it seems international aid is more efficient at post-event response. The government tried to mobilize as well as it was able, but that will never be enough. (See: Katrina, japan earthquake/tsunami).
I still have friends I haven't heard from, and have friends who haven't heard from their family. The days of shocked reflection after disasters are always filled with what-ifs and fruitless hindsight. I agree with rdl above that innovations have to be made but most importantly a plan for better wealth creation for the country's poorest who are often the hardest hit. In these modern times, it shouldn't take 10,000 lives to spur that on.
and yes prevention costs less almost always.
This thing needs lots of help now.
note - this isn't a rhetoric. I genuinely want to understand what is the reason for such a massive difference. I have financial interests in that exact part of India and actually have been thinking that the govt is pretty well prepared (given, well that it is India).
I don't consider myself well informed. But I live in the Philippines and I have been in a high wind, light flooding typhoon and a low wind high flooding typhoon. Of the two, the high flooding typhoon caused a lot more damage and loss of life.
You can't make apples to apples comparisons on typhoons. Wind speed isn't necessarily the most destructive factor. Wind creates a lot of damage, but its flooding which creates high casualty counts. The devastating tsunamis we have recently seen is a great example of this.
From this article.
It's certainly possible that the region you mentioned in India was better prepared, but I'm guessing that the flooding was worse in the 1999 storm.
The Philippines typhoon was among the strongest to ever hit hand. It neared the theoretical maximum strength of a typhoon. One of the methods used to measure the strength of a typhoon is the Dvorak scale which goes up to 8. At the peak of the storm, it hit 8 and they could no longer measure it. They could only estimate that it went up to as much as 8.2.
First, logistically speaking, transport, supply and communication lines in the Philippines are hard to establish because we're an archipelago of 7,000+ islands. The unique geography makes it hard for mass evacuations. Go to high areas, suffer landslides and wind damage, stay low, storm surges wipe you out.
I don't know much about the Indian typhoon season, but the Pacific typhoon season, since the 90's on average, starts at January-March and ends at November-December: it doesn't stop. Fortunately we've had good years, such as the 1998 storm season, the first storm system formed started in July at that time. On average, most of the Pacific storm systems hit us every 3 weeks, there are certain months where parts of the country get hit by a typhoon every other week. So almost all resources are poured into constantly getting supply lines and shelters re-established.
Given this, we Filipinos have been taught, even the children, to consider typhoons to be normal and to have their distinct personalities to look out for. I remember back in 2009 that we took a direct hit with Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy). It wasn't expected to deal that much damage since Hurricane strength is generally associated with wind speed, the measured wind speed wasn't that high. What we didn't we know was that it brought 454.9 mm rainfall in the Metropolis, flooding rural areas in our capital region as high as 4-6meters. Uncertainty is high, resources are low, the islands of Samar and Leyte got hit badly: the eyewall brought in the surge from the east and when the storm passed by, the tail surged the sea inward from the west.
Also, it's hard to get good data. Info and news from the media and government are unorganized, each have their own databases, and not to mention, their own agendas to look good.
Majority of Filipinos consider the lack of financial resources as the biggest factor due to politics and corruption. As mentioned in the comments above, the mayor of the city of Dumaguete can only set aside something like $9,000 USD. Not a lot of resources, considering that's just enough to buy a car here in the Philippines.
The lack of resources and wealth, the difficulty of re-establishing supply lines sets up an environment for such casualties despite preparations.
And we all don't seem to care at all. At least not enough to changer our patterns of consumption.
Have a look at websites like this, and see if you can make them better. http://reliefweb.int/ Better means lots of things, but "easier to use with very low or intermittent bandwidth"; "easier to use for an international audience" etc.
Take the most important Wikipedia articles (where "importance" is about STEM education) and polish them into the very best they can be, with clear easy to understand text and nice examples and best diagrams. Translate these to different languages. (Whatever is used in areas that need them, so I guess Spanish, French, Portuguese, and whatever.) This might require a form from WP.
Investigate charities that do good work. Donate to those charities. Good work means different things to different people, but probably includes "doesn't spend too much of its funds on luxury offices and big wages" and "makes a change, doesn't just continue cycles of deprivation".
Research and promote low power computing. Most people have huge computers for what they actually do. Really, using social media, watching a few cat videos, and writing the occasional letter do not need gigabytes of RAM and 3 GHz quad core processors. Help with low resource Open Source projects. Never mind LXDE and XFCE, most people would be fine with JWM or IceWM. Moving people from 100 Watt desktop machines to 8 W arm (or similar) nettops would be useful for climate change.
There's bound to be some interesting but difficult to access research work around distribution - distribution of money and resources within organisations and from those orgs to the places where they're needed. Stuff crossing boundaries is an opportunity for loss. Those boundaries include geographical borders but also include regulatory boundaries for organisations. Visualisations of the journey of a donated dollar through the bureaucracies to the final endpoint would be fascinating, and possibly enraging, for many people.
Vote for people who don't do stupid things to developing nations.
Be careful when donating hardware to charity recycling. Often anything usable is sold off, with the junk being sent to places like the e-waste dump in Agbogbloshie, Accra, Ghana. Here's a programme and a clip about that dump. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sch78) (http://videobam.com/rcEUM)
To Americans: Is this even legit?