Big numbers but each an individual

At least 10,000 people have died and many more have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines:

Four million people are thought to have been affected by the massive storm and 10,000 people are believed to have been killed in the city of Tacloban in the province of Leyte alone after huge waves swept away coastal villages on Friday.

A United Nations humanitarian official described the scale of damage in the Philippines caused by Haiyan as massive and unprecedented. John Ging said 660,000 people fled their homes because of the storm and the UN will appeal for significant international aid for victims.

Devastated communities without food, water and medicines are showing desperation after one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded flattened entire towns and left countless bodies scattered across wastelands.

People in Tacloban woke up to just what they didn’t need on Tuesday – driving rain. With provisions running low, everyone says that food is their main concern.

A BBC correspondent said he saw families straining filthy water through T-shirts to try and remove the dirt and there is a real risk of diseases like dysentery spreading quickly.  . . .

It is difficult to grasp the extent of the devastation, the lives lost, many more still at risk, homes destroyed, schools trashed, businesses ruined . . .

With numbers as big as these it is important to remember that each is an individual and that, just as we are seeing in Christchurch, the end of the storm won’t be the end of the problems.

Parliament began yesterday by offering messages of support to the victims.

Before question time in the House this afternoon, Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader David Cunliffe both offered their condolences following the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines this week.

“Images we are seeing out of the affected areas are deeply harrowing and I know that all New Zealanders will be moved by them,” Mr Key said.

New Zealand had learned firsthand from the Canterbury earthquakes no country has to face a destructive natural disaster alone, he said.

“The international community always stands ready to help.” . . .

Unfortunately one MP let politics get in the way of the condolences.

In contrast, Dr Norman used his time to read a speech from the head of the Philippines’ delegation to the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Poland.

His speech drew audible groans from the MPs and a number of negative tweets from politicians, including National MP Tau Henare and Labour MP Shane Jones.

After a point of order from co-leader Metiria Turei, Speaker David Carter said Mr Norman had the right to make a speech, “but it would be better if it was delivered without a political message”. . .

This was the wrong time and place for such a message.

13 Responses to Big numbers but each an individual

  1. robertguyton says:

    At funerals of young men killed through drunk driving, mothers plead with the friends of their dead sons not to drink and drive.
    There’s no better time.


  2. Gravedodger says:

    Massive reductions in estimates of the dead this morning, still a disaster that elicits my sympathy and empathy now estimates around 1500 with a potential for that to grow as disease, dehydration and food shortages contribute.

    Good old Catholic Church (The Phillipines is a catholic country int it) manages a magnificent 100k, how much do you suppose they sucked out through the collection plate last week.

    Matched though, by near neighbour and asian economic power house, China.

    OTOH those ghastly Yanks who turned back the murderous, rapacious Japanese military 70 years ago, managed 20 million in cash plus an Aircraft carrier, the Marine corps, a back up flotilla of CINCPAC and the USAF.

    lil ole NZ a couple of Mill matched by Japan.

    Robert there are many who consider the graveside lecture has no effect on the so-called grieving peers as they are in an encouraged state of grief and their ears are disconnected.
    Much more effective to put a crippled survivor in front of the class a few weeks later when the latter stages of grief are present,
    Sort of confirming the empty seat means dead is actually really dead, like finito, gorn for ever, yuno, like not coming back, like too true, yuno, like.

    Your best mate only resonated with the faithful, like the dozen listers including the now sartorially resplendent and still [deleted perosnal abuse] jade adorned ijit, yuno like, not a single one of whom needs to relate to the electorate at large, they only need to impress the few demented members of their pressure group that MMP has morphed into a “Party”and the muppets with equally warped ideas of what a message of condolence is accepted to be.
    His effort was another misfire.
    Not many grieving people are receptive to a lecture when their whole life is trashed around them.
    Perhaps a short course in counselling would benefit, yuno like, probably not, eh.


  3. Andrei says:

    Lol Robert – you greenies are so dense – over a million people in died flooding in China in 1931, it could have been as high as four million and of course this was not a unique situation something similar happened in the eighteenth century

    The worst natural disaster in the USA’s history was a hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900 (no SUV’s back then to cause epic storms, of course which also means no way of getting disaster relief to the survivors in timely fashion)

    And here’s the thing my fine fellow, in the world we inhabit in the 21st century not only are we aware of what has happened in the far off Philippines as it happens, instead of hearing about it months later as it would have been 150 years ago, but we are able to provide assistance to the afflicted by rapidly transporting to them blankets, food, medicine, generators etc etc etc in very short order by using fossil fuels to power the transports that move them from here to there, thus alleviating as much as we can the sufferings of the afflicted.

    You have got to love the wonders the fossil fuels can bring


  4. robertguyton says:

    “Morbidly obese”
    Are you just the gentleman then, GraveDodger!
    Imagine if I’d said the same about Paula Bennett. You’d be foaming blue at the mouth.
    You Homepaddock regulars (myself excluded) can be very unkind with your words. It’s typical, I’ve learned, of your sort. Any objections from Ele about gratuitous personal insults aimed at women politicians?
    Not holding my breath.


  5. JC says:

    Well, lookee here, Russel has a soul brother.. identical words and thoughts:



  6. homepaddock says:

    You could have held your breath – I deleted those two words. I am consistent on not tolerating personal abuse.


  7. Gravedodger says:

    To our ever gracious and tolerant host, Ele, my apologies for exceeding the good taste your blog exhibits,
    I am sorry you were compelled to delete those words but that is the standard you maintain and I was in error.



  8. homepaddock says:

    Have an electronic bunch of flowers for that very gracious apology, GD.


  9. robertguyton says:

    You let us all down when you let yourself down, GraveDodger.


  10. Gravedodger says:

    I concede that you would be the judge of that Mr Guyton, with your reference to the Hon Paula Bennett.
    Never one to let a chance go by and so lucky in that your partisan denigrations are always within bounds, of course.

    Not that you would ever resile from your ‘tablet of stone from the mountain’ utterances.

    Your 2 04 comment was not dissimilar to a cowardly push in the back for a retreating adversary.
    I have no part in your continuing efforts at “letting yourself down” you are an outstanding example of ‘how to’ in that department.

    You are the little boy who just has to speak the last “did too” in a very truculent albeit still angry sotto voce as the sandpit scrap inevitably winds down.

    I wonder who the gypsy was who down voted the apology and the acceptance?


  11. jabba says:

    good grief bOb


  12. robertguyton says:

    Certainly not I, GraveDodger, I’m an honourable fellow, as I know you grudgingly suspect. You do deserve to be taunted, you’ll own, for your silly and unnecessarily cruel attack, but enough of that, I forgive you 🙂 It’s easy to over-step the mark but as you note, I always remain within the bounds. Jabba, otoh, lives over the border but is totally unaware of his where-abouts. Such are your compatriots. I’m reminded of a snapping-at-ankles pug-dog, over-wrought, over-pampered, undersized. See? Nothing there that Ele might be forced to delete (the shame!)


  13. Armchair Critic says:

    Not I, GD. The voting system is a puerile facility that I wouldn’t miss. It’s a poor substitute for proper discussion and debate.


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