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I came from the capital. My family lives beside Laguna lake in Taguig. Whenever there's a storm my village gets flooded (mainly due to poor flood control) and everything becomes hard in terms of dealing with your daily business. Obviously nothing in comparison to what Haiyan did to Tacloban city, but the panic induced by the thunder, the cold feeling from the rain, plus the fear of losing a lot from the waters and looters is still deeply etched in my brain.

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.

What's worse is that these disasters have been happening regularly since 2009, when Typhoon Ketsana (known locally as Ondoy) struck the capital. What has the government done to really damage-proof the Philippines since? It was obvious right then that something like that would happen every year, and it did, yet there doesn't seem to be a concrete, long-term plan of action from the government.

Well, I was impressed to see they evacuated a large number of people this time, which hasn't always been the case. that doesn't sem like much but bear mind that the Philippines is a poor country, and second that it's essentially an archipelago made out of hundreds of small inhabited islands with fairly low average elevation (IIRC it's actually a few thousand islands, but not all of them are inhabited).

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.

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