I want to say thank you to everyone who expressed concern for my friends and extended family back in the Philippines. While I moved back to the United States two years ago, I spent most of my formative years in “imperial” Manila.
While I’m relieved that everyone I know in the capital remains unscathed by typhoon Haiyan, thousands of people are dead and injured due to the biggest recorded typhoon in history.
I traveled to many remote areas during my years with non-profit organizations, but I never found myself in Tacloban, Leyte. The poor areas of the country, however, share a commonality: a lack of good roads and hospitals. Even when there’s not a major calamity, access to food, portable water, and healthcare can be a huge challenge.
Despite some firsthand experience, I cannot imagine the devastation of the entire Visayas region. Just two weeks before the typhoon hit, Bohol was the epicenter for a devastating earthquake that flattened many homes and historic landmarks. (The island of Bohol is next door to the island of Leyte.) Even without the typhoon, the area was already suffering.