Super-Typhoon Haiyan rumbled through the Philippines this last weekend, and what was left in its wake was horrific. With sustained winds at nearly 200 MPH and storm surges more resembling a tsunami than a typhoon, preparation efforts implemented by Philippine Authority proved to be largely futile; early estimates suggest at least 11,000 people were killed, with 600,000 rendered homeless and property damage currently being incalculable.
Professional journalists at Ground Zero used phrases like 'off the scale,' and 'apocalyptic,' to describe that to which they were bearing witness, and from the many gut-wrenching stories and photographs coming from the catastrophe these terms seem apropos. While Philippine Authority deals with multiple typhoons on a yearly basis, in retrospect evacuation measures were woeful at best; many have noted that much of this tragedy could have been averted by thoughtful, sound preparations.
Note: It is not lost on me that our troops are being sent on an 'aid and comfort' mission during a Veterans Day weekend; somehow, due to their courage such a mission feels right, though the circumstances which facilitates the deployment are heartbreaking. I honor our troops - they are the best of us.
Pic courtesy of NOAA, via Wikipedia