it's a mess, on the ground. Hunger and thirst. The stench of unburied bodies in humid heat. people stumbling around, looking for a coconut to cut a hole in, to provide a taste of sugar water. injuries that are developing infections.
But it is also a mess in the palaces of the powerful - and we are discovering that a willingness to be in a photo pop does not always indicate that you give a damn. there's Benigno Aquino, el presidente, for example. Aquino famously disagreed with Elmer Soria, the regional police chief, when Soria declared that there could be 10,000 dead. Nah, responded Aquino, more like 2000 or 2500. A week after landfall, Soria has been proven right and Aquino has been proved wrong. Funy thing though- Aquino still has his job for some reason, but Soria has been removed from his job- for caring too much? For telling the truth?
Meanwhile, China promised to give 100,000 bucks in relief money to the victims. Filipinos were not very appreciative about that tiny amount. when China heard about this lack of appreciation, China voiced a certain disapproval of the lack of gratitude. Sad. China has billions in the bank, but plays games instead of helping a neighbor in a desperate hour. Meanwhile, the USA talked about $100,000 in the first day of the emergency- but then got serious when the scale of the mess became clearer. The USA now has an aircraft carrier parked off the Philippine coast, with half a dozen suport vessels and dozens of aircraft, delivering so far 400,000 lbs of supplies. there will soon be 700 more marines providing security in the Tacloban area. why? Because the Philippine government is pretty obviously not going to meet this challenge.
I like being proud to be an American. But it must be uncomfortable right now to be a Filipino. many there believed previously that the country was being run by a corrupt coterie of self serving posturing money grabbers. the past week has largely confirmed this- and the Internet is lighting up with Filipinos voicing their shame for the poor response to the Haiyan disaster shown by their ruling class.