Sat image of Luzon (NMFC MODIS) >1 week after Parma; rivers s... on Twitpic No Current Tropical Cyclone Warnings (JTWC NMFC): Sat Image :) on Twitpic
These last two weeks was a period of upheaval for our country, meeting 2 strong typhoons, and we are now living it their aftermath--great devastation, never before seen in history.  The image on the right shows a satellite image of Luzon (NMFC MODIS) more than 1 week after Typhoon Parma's first landfall; rivers are still swollen. Weather is fine with a ridge of high pressure area extending over Northern Luzon. The image at the extreme right shows a hemispheric satellite image (JTWC NMFC) demonstrating no current tropical cyclone warnings; TS Nepartak is moving northeast, while TS Parma is moving westward. A Low Pressure Area (LPA) however is seen about 700 km east of Catanduanes island. Hopefully this fine weather continues.

As of this writing, the combined figures are mind-boggling.  About 1.3 million families were affected, translating to about 6.6 million individual persons, or 7% of the national population.  Of these affected people, 952 lost their lives, and many are still missing.  Thousands of houses (about 66,000) were destroyed.  The total damage to agriculture, infrastructure and many utilities amounted to more than P15 Billion or roughly about $320 Million, or about 1% of the national budget for 2009.  To restore electricity, some areas will have to wait at least a month. The socioeconomic devastation will now be slowly felt my all, more so for the poor.  In many places floods are everpresent; some estimates say floods will recede in 3 months, especially in areas near the lakes and rivers.

Incidentally the Gospel passage yesterday (Sunday) talks about giving away "all you have" for the kingdom.  Many people lost everything (albeit by force of nature) and many more gave away some treasure for their relief, which has to continue for a long time.  Let's do whatever we can to help our neighbors rebuild their lives.  Relief from all groups is welcome, be they private, or government; the private component may cease (hopefully not), but the government portion must continue and be sustained indefinitely.  If anything has to be done, it should be done, and forget politics.

Part of the gospel goes...
And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God." (Mark 10.21-27 RSV)

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