A category 5 typhoon is slamming in to the central Visayas in the Philippines as I write this. Samar and Leyte are getting the initial brunt, but this affects a far wider population. This is a poor place and most houses are not built to sustain this sort of thing. Some reports say there are 200 mph winds.
Weatherunderground has a better analysis than I can do.
Once this storm passes these people are going to need a lot more help than the ObamaPhone lady .
All I can ask for is for prayers for these people, and contribute what you can to the charity of your choice. I'm one who thinks that the Salvation Army does the best job getting help to where it is needed. Their overhead is low compared to the Red Cross and Catholic Charities, but give to help these people if you can. I don't see any Islamic charity stepping up to this tragedy.
This storm makes Katrina look like a rain shower.
God help these people....please!
Update I've been trying to call friends and family all night. Of course the phone lines are down and cell have been destroyed. Still i was able to at least to get some news on Skype from my niece in Cebu. This is worst storm in recorded history and all the charities I mentioned will be on the ground to help. I still see no Muslim charities trying to help. They are too busy helping insurgents in Zamboanga kill Christians.
This storm is not over. Once it gets over the South China Sea it will intensify again, and it looks like Vietnam may get a direct hit.
This is the worst storm I've ever seen.
Update 2: The typhoon had some of the highest sustained winds on record, but because it was a fast moving storm, the deaths and devastation were far less than feared. If a storm with 200+ mph winds stuck around for a long time, there would not be much left on Samar and Leyte. Tacloban airport has reopened in a limited way and people are cleaning up a real mess, but it could be far worse.
The storm is now over the South China Sea and gaining strength again. Vietnam seems it's likely target. As poor as the Philippines are, Vietnam is far worse outside the major cities, and the communist government is too corrupt, incompetent and complacent to deal with the aftermath. The charities I mentioned above will be working overtime, provided that Vietnam lets them in to help.
Update 3: Photos are starting to come in now. The UK paper, The Daily Mail, shows how much devastation was done in the city of Tacloban on Leyte. There are over 1200 dead according to the Red Cross, 1000 in Tacloban alone. Relief flights are coming in now, but Tacloban airport is in bad shape. As bad as this storm is, the death and destruction would have been worse if it was not a fast moving storm. Vietnam is going to get the full brunt in the next few hours, as will Cambodia. Neither country has the infrastructure to recover from this. The Philippines, as poor as it is will bounce back much quicker.
Update 4: This not so much an update than it is a commentary. The US Air Force, and Marines have been bringing C-130 transports to Tacloban Airport, even when it was flooded and in almost unusable shape. The Salvation Army, Red Cross and several other others who have the means to do it ae on the ground giving relief to victims. Even though this storm was fast moving, some reports predict 10,000 dead. I'm not sure of that, because that is what the mainstream media said died in Katrina. But Leyte and Samar are in ruins right now. Any help would be appreciated.
One thing that is notable, is that not a single so called Muslim charities have offered any assistance, yet they are funding a low level insurgency in Mindanao that has gotten far more violent in recent months. The siege on Zamboanga City has been going on for 2 months now with no let up, and guess who funds the MILF, and MNLF? Yes it is the Muslim Brotherhood and their CAIR front organization in the USA.
So, While we in the west and mostly Christians and some Jews may give money to help the victims of the typhoon, the Religion of Peace (tm) are giving money to kill Christians in the Philippines.
I'll have further updates when I know more. I'm not speculating on anything. I'm not a TV network where "if it bleeds it leads". Family are fine, but this isn't over
Update-5: The devastation on Leyte, a very sizable island, is massive and Tacloban and Ormoc are destroyed. The media is not paying too much attention to anything outside the largest city of Taclobann, largely because it has a serviceable airport, and relief flights are coming in from nearby Cebu and Manila.
Ormoc, a smaller city on Leyte is also devastated. It's a port city and is not a stranger to disaster. It was destroyed in a large typhoon in 1992 and was rebuilt in to a very livable city. But once again it is destroyed. Nobody knows the number if villages and baranguay that are wiped out.
The island of Samar, just across a bridge from Tacloban also has massive damage and loss of life. The foreign media is not paying attention to Samar, because it may be difficult to get to the most affected areas. It is a very large island, and most towns tend to be smallish. So IU've only got limited information from here.
President Aquino has downward estimated the death toll to 2000~2500. As awful as it is, it is not 10,000 dead. The USS George Washington aircraft carrier will arrive in the area on Thursday and hopefully it can help get food water to the victims.
That's all I have for now.
Update-6: I really don't have to much more to add regarding the disaster in the Visayas, except that the damage goes far beyond Leyte and Tacloban. Many places as far west as Aklan province in Panay are without power, and there is widespread damage throughout the region.
One thing I need to emphasize is that all these care packages that church groups in the US indented for the Philippines will probably never get there. Relief flights are bringing large containers and palettes of bottled water, 100 kg bags of rice, and bails of clothing that can be moved on and off the C-130 planes that the US and Philippine military are bringing in, and small care packages of canned tuna, ramen noodles, instant rice and things of that nature just can't be accommodated now. The best thing you can do is contribute money to the charity of your choice. The Philippine Red Cross, Salvation army and World Vision have people on the ground now to help distribute relief. They buy supplies locally within southeast Asia and get those goods shipped in. Care packages sent by various church groups here in the US will most likely end up in soup kitchens at home.
Just a thought. I know that it makes people feel good making care packages, but the current relief flights and infrastructure in the affected areas just can't deliver or deal with these things.