Sunday, December 8, 2013

A month after the perfect storm

screencap from unosat
A month after Haiyan-Yolanda, the Tacloban mayor is still hurt by the criticisms he got from Pnoy. words. The mayor said Pnoy should have first come to the aid of the city before criticizing how his city government dealt with the storm. 

Aside from the strength of the storm, many factors impact the level of devastation to an area. One is the distance from the storm's direct path. Another is the physical geography, topology, and elevation. We cannot change these natural and physical characteristics in several days before the storm.

Another factor that might affect the impact would be the population and population density. And lastly, the preparations for the storm. I am sure someone will come up with some measure how each of these factors contributed to the amount of destruction each place got.

Judging from the UNOSAT map of the typhoon's path, Ormoc, Bogo, and Guiuan are nearer to the typhoon's path than Tacloban. Using population density and elevation data available from the Internet, Bogo and Kalibo have lower elevation than Tacloban. Kalibo and Roxas also have larger population density than Tacloban. Bantayan Island's population density approximates that of Tacloban, but Bantayan's death count is lower. 

Further on, I hope the NDRRMC can come up with numbers on Yolanda deaths per 1000 population of each LGU. There are places that incurred minimal casualties when people listened to warnings from their authorities. I hope people would now listen to warnings given by authorities, that is, if local authorities are doing their jobs.

City/ 
Municipality
Distance from Yolanda's 
eye (km)
Elevation 
(m)
Population Density (people/ sqkm)
Tacloban
35
7
1,100
Guiuan
20
56
270
Homonhon
5
53
270
Bantayan
0
30
1,030
Coron
0
142
62
Bogo
20
1
680
Kalibo
25
4
1,600
Ormoc
0
25
310
Tulong Diot
40
Roxas City
20
148
1,600

Friday, November 29, 2013

Solomonic reinstatement, but the fudging is still moronic.

Expectedly, the government will reinstate the police chief who was relieved from his post for claiming that 10,000 died from Supertyphoon Yolanda. I hope he is being reinstated not just because of public opinion but because it is the right thing to do.

If all government functionaries have the sense to stop the wrongs they make, discard favoritism, overcome inertiative, stop being sanctimonious, then it would be perfect to work in this earthquake, flood, lahar country. But that's another story.

Back to Soria, I'm glad they announced it before the death toll approximates his initial estimate. With 5,560 dead and around 2,000 more unaccounted for, the deaths could reach 7,500, easily tripling the government guesstimate. Soria's count will be closer to the final count than the government's first estimate.

Remember that the police chief offered his estimate right after the typhoon. he was right there on the ground with the press egging him for estimates. No other government official can come up with numbers. True, there was emotional drama in the estimate. Why shouldn't there be? The typhoon was truly catastrophic. In the tragic bombing of the World Trade Center, the death toll was estimated to be over 6,000, more than twice the number of deaths eventually confirmed. They did not fire Mayor Giuliani on the overestimate.

The 2,000 - 2,500 deaths reported by the president, gathered from the field 5 days after the typhoon was supposedly objective and devoid of drama. Many think that the government was fudging the count because it might appear that it did not do enough to warn the people. I think so too, until it can't fudge it no more. For one, the count stalled for a while because they checked and triple checked the data. They didn't count the dead until it has been identified. Wtf?!@#$%^. A death is a death, identified or not.

Then they quibbled on the cause of death. When they found 'new dead' under the rubble, Mar Roxas speculated that they “... had just died were from recent causes. Maybe they had a heart attack, pneumonia or something, but not because of Yolanda.” Wtf?!@#$%^. They had a heart attack or whatever and they chose to crawl under the rubble and die? Isn't it more logical to conclude that Yolanda buried them in the rubble but they did not die immediately? That they died before they could be rescued?

Does the government really think that Yolanda did not cause the rubble under which they died?


Mar-ronic!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

They heeded the warnings, and survived

photo from abs-cbnnews.com
Albay Governor Joey Salceda echoes Pnoy's call on LGUs to take warnings seriously and adopt other measures in preparing for future calamities. He says zero casualty should be the target.

Amid the squabbling in the Yolanda aftermath, we hear good news of entire communities that survived or suffered very minimal casualties.

Situated along the Yolanda's destructive path, these small communities heeded the warnings and survived.

Tulong Diot's and Manicani's small size maybe helped in their survival. Perhaps the folks heeded their leaders' warnings because they reached them soon enough (they evacuated 2 days before the storm). And perhaps they realize that because of their isolation (they are islands kilometers off the main city), when the worst happens (and it did) help would be a long time coming. People in city centers tend to have the false security that everything is near and easy to get.

The next time the storm surges come, we will be definitely prepared. We learn the hard way. Ondoy struck us so bad, that when Habagat'12 came we were prepared.

The Pag-asa came up with color coded rainfall forecasts to warn us of impending rain levels. I'm sure they will next devise some graphic way of warning about storm surge heights. There must be a better way of warning about 5 meter surges, like maybe, sustained waves that reach the second floor of a building.

This should also be a learning experience for the government. If they are uneasy calling storm surges as tsunami because technically they are not, what's stopping them from vividly describing them as tsunami-like? It's better than fudging the death count.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hendricks tapped!

Gif from MMAJunkie.com
Imho, the great Georges St-Pierre escaped with a lucky decision in his bout with Johnny Hendricks. The very close split decision, however, is not a blatant robbery. Hendricks could have won if luck smiled his way instead of GSP. Remember, Jon Jones escaped with a similar controversial victory over Gustafson.

If Dana White can live with the Jones win, he should live with this one too. After all, imagine the revenues from the rematch.

Fight fans like me appreciate the candidness and humility displayed by GSP after the fight while many are turned off by the bragadoccio from Hendricks. Contrast this to the grace shown by Gustafsson after his loss. I hope someone can ask Hendricks about the seeming tapout gesture he made early in the fight when GSP almost got him in a guillotine choke.

There is an ongoing survey on whether it was a tap or not. As of this writing, more than 2/3 believe that it was a tap. I think so too.

When GSP hinted in the post-fight interview that he may retire, saying that a lot is going on in his mind, I thought he will out himself. He is single, no children, no steady girlfriend.

Now that would be the biggest controversy of all.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Moronic decision to sack Soria

elmer soria
PNP Reg8 Chief Elmer Soria during
happier times. Photo from
leytesamardaily.net
Why did they sack and admonish PNP Region 8 Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria for estimating 10,000 dead from typhoon Yolanda?

The government targeted zero casualty from Yolanda, but it's almost impossible to prepare for the strongest typhoon ever to make landfall. This government must have been patting itself on the back in the early news of just a few casualties, not realizing that knocked down power and communication lines prevent full reports. Perhaps they did not see  Atom Araullo's brave report from Tacloban. One would guess many will not survive that onslaught.

But why sack Soria for his 10,000 estimate? Was he off the 'daang matuwid'?  Did he misdeclare his SALN? Did he fall short of customs collection? Was he corrupt? Did he cheat? A human rights abuser?

His only mistake was an estimate that is deemed over the top by Malacanan. At worst his, estimate jolted the world into action to help us

Definitely, the current (and rising) count is much more than Pnoy's guess. But will we, his bosses, sack him? No, he is still our president.

The decision to sack Soria is moronic. Palace spin doctors say that Soria was relieved because he suffered too much stress. And sacking him would destress him?

As of now the death toll is over 4,000 with over 1,200 still missing. The final count could very well double Pnoy's projection and even approximate Soria's estimate.

I hope they reinstate Soria immediately. When the number of casualties reach his estimate, they even ought to promote him. And say 'Sorry, ha?'




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