Naderev Saño writes: It was barely 11 months ago in Doha when my delegation appealed to the world to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face, as we confronted a catastrophic storm that resulted in the costliest disaster in Philippine history. Less than a year after, we could not imagine that a disaster much bigger would come.
With a cruel twist of fate, my country is being tested by this hellstorm called Super Typhoon Haiyan, which has been described by experts as the strongest typhoon that has ever made landfall in the course of recorded human history. It was so strong that if there was a category 6, it would have fallen squarely in that box.
We remain uncertain as to the full extent of the devastation, as information trickles in in an agonizingly slow manner because electricity lines and communication lines have been cut off. The initial assessment shows that Haiyan left a wake of massive devastation that is unprecedented, unthinkable and horrific, affecting two–thirds of the Philippines, with about half a million people now rendered homeless, and with scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of a tsunami, with a vast wasteland of mud and debris and dead bodies.
Despite the massive efforts that my country had exerted in preparing for the onslaught of this monster of a storm, it was just a force too powerful and, even as a nation familiar with storms, Haiyan was nothing we have ever experienced before, or perhaps nothing that any country has ever experienced before. [Continue reading…]