Haiyan: Spreading the Focus

Map of the Philippines with Leyte highlighted
Map of the Philippines with Leyte highlighted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you hear about an entire city being flattened in a few minutes by Mother Nature, it’s easy to concentrate your grief and attention on that one place. Of course, Typhoon Haiyan has wreaked havoc in far more than one place. There are towns on Leyte, Cebu and Samar islands that people can’t even get to yet.

Since leaving the Philippines, Haiyan has gone on to Vietnam and China, weakened, but still terrifying. Because these two countries are more closed to Western media, we don’t know as much about what’s happening there. We know some 600,000 Vietnamese were evacuated before Haiyan hit. This report from the Voice of Vietnam state radio indicates that 13 people were killed by Haiyan. The BBC reports that Vietnam’s capital Hanoi worries about flooding in the next couple days.

So, do pay attention to what’s happening. Stay informed. Help if you can. I have traditionally supported Oxfam America, but many options exist.

Typhoon Haiyan
Typhoon Haiyan (Photo credit: Fragile Oasis)

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4 thoughts on “Haiyan: Spreading the Focus

  1. Do you know that help is also needed to map the area hit by the storm? If any of your readers feel money is tight, but want to help, they can help with the Open Street Map project. Read about it at these two links:
    I am an OSM beginner. I was speaking tonight with a friend who maps for OSM. He said reading how this sort of thing helped in Haiti really touched him deeply. Humanitarian aid workers went into the field with one map on their GPS devices that helped them give help where needed. Only 5 hours later, they could get a new map that helped them even more. All thanks to some “armchair geeks” far, far away.

      1. You’re welcome. This is what they call “crisis mapping”. You can find loads on that topic on Google. Ushahidi is also a big player here. It grew out of rioting in Kenya after some elections in 2008 as a way to record incidents about fires, riots, and more, and to help journalists and citizen journalists discover the truth about what was happening inside their own country. I consider all this open source and crowdsourcing at its finest.
        I also love how it helps people engage in their local community – also when there is no disaster. You can mark businesses, mailboxes, benches – all the stuff that is useful to know and that nobody else records. Once it is in OSM, you add the pile of metadata that can be used for even more mashups.

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