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Here we go again.

Typhoon Hagupit (Tagalog for "lash") is headed DIRECTLY for the very areas hit by Yolanda a year ago. Eastern Samar Island, a rural area which borders Leyte Island and was severely devastated last year, will bear the brunt of first landfall.

It's a Category 4, not as extreme as Yolanda, but still expected to affect 30 million people.

Please keep the Philippines in your thoughts and prayers. People will need help, I know this. Maps and more below the jump.

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Reposted from Lefty Coaster by Lefty Coaster

A new Super Typhoon has formed in the Western Pacific is is on a track heading towards the Philippines. Latest indications are its losing some of it intensity.  

'Very Ugly': 32 Million in Philippines in Path of Super Typhoon Hagupit


The military was on high alert and thousands of families were evacuated Friday morning as Super Typhoon Hagupit and its 180-mph winds remained on course for landfall in areas of the Philippines devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan last year.

At noon local time (5 p.m. Thursday ET), Hagupit was about 670 miles east-southeast of Manila, moving west-northwest at 11½ mph pushing maximum waves of 45 feet. The U.N. Global Disaster Alert System said almost 32 million people — a third of the country's population — were likely to be affected in some way by cyclone-force winds when the storm arrives in central parts of the island nation Saturday afternoon or evening.

Hagupit, known locally as Ruby, was expected to weaken slightly but to remain a top-level Category 5 storm with life-threatening winds, storm surges and flash floods.

"This storm is not going to be quite as strong as Haiyan, but the probability is it has the potential to impact some of the same areas that were impacted last year," when last year's strongest storm killed more than 7,000 people in the Philippines in November 2013, said Ari Sarsalari, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.

"By this weekend, you guys be aware, because this is definitely the type of situation that can get very ugly," Sarsalari said.

One year ago today I was doing disaster relief volunteer work in the central Philippine island of Bohol. I saw what a Super Typhoon could do first hand. This is frightening news no matter where this new monster makes landfall. The present projected track would take it over the Metro Manila area.

Extreme weather events are becoming the destructive new norm.

Reposted from Lefty Coaster by Lawrence

Palawan province is sparsely populated compared to the rest of the Philippines, and it is viewed as the country's  frontier.  But it also has some stunning scenery for the adventurous traveler.

Coron Island.

A bay on Coron Island.

The unusual limestone geology of Barracuda Lake on Coron Island.

The smaller islands are reached by outrigger boats. A member of our outrigger's crew who lost his home on Busunga Island to Super Typhoon Yolanda. Now he lives in a boarding house in Busunga's Coron Town.

I took a outrigger from Coron Town  on Busunga Island to El Nido on Palawan Island.
That's about a 70 mile crossing.

Approaching El Nido

Cadlio Island juts into the clouds.

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Reposted from Lefty Coaster by Lawrence

The damaged airport terminal as I de-planed on Busunga Island after flying from Cebu City. There were only 7 people on the flight. Yolanda has badly affected tourism on Busunga. Much of the island is still without electric power.

One of Busunga and Coron Town biggest tourist attractions is the fabulous coral gardens around nearby Coron Island (a National Park). Now after Yolanda's fury they're more like coral clear cuts. One boat guide said they may take several years to recover.  

Reposted from Lefty Coaster by Lefty Coaster

I finished my three weeks of working with All Hands Volunteers' Project Bohol in the area around Antequera on Bohol Island yesterday. It was an unforgettable experience for me and all of the other volunteers who came to Bohol from all over the world to help earthquake victims directly with our own labor.

A devastated neighborhood (barrio) in Antequera as Project Bohol begins to take down and de-construct the wrecked buildings. This area looks very different today, but more work still remains.  


A local woman weaves a basket. The residents of Antequera are renown for their handicrafts.

We worked to de-construct wrecked homes, schools, and chapels, while salvaging as much of the materials as possible for reconstruction. Building materials are expensive commodities for these rural people.

It is very hard work. It wasn't unusual for me to drink a gallon of water during a day's work. It was essential to take breaks in some shade periodically during the work exposed to the blazing tropical sun and high humidity.

Thanksgiving dinner at Project Bohol.

Volunteers reached our job sites in Jeepneys loaded with wheelbarrows full of tools and ladders. De-construction is very hard on our tools with many breaking creating a constant need to purchase new tools. I bought a large pair of bolt cutters when I got an opportunity while visiting Tagbilaran City Bohol's largest city to use to cut rebar. We seemed to always be short of a few of the tools we needed.

Most of the volunteers slept in tents we brought with us.

Due to the space limitations inside many volunteers rode on the roof or holding on to the back of the Jeepney.  

A homeowner talks with an All Hands work team about which direction he wants his Shelter Box tent's entrance to face. We had to demolish a section of the concrete floor to create a level site for this Shelter Box tent.  

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Reposted from TexMex by brooklynliberal Editor's Note: Shelterbox is kicking it in the Philippines! -- brooklynliberal

Just updating so people know what the final amount was.

YiShun Lai

Hi, lovely ShelterBox family--Brian and I are well here in Santa Fe on Batanyan Island. Today Brian spent time on another island in the archipelago, and I spent some time with Andre in a municipality that we hadn't yet visited. We spent nearly all day yesterday traveling to reach the existing team here, who were in need of reinforcement. Hope all is well with everyone, and that everyone's Thanksgiving was great. Cheers!
Texans kick ass.


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A few friends and I are supporting recovery work in the Philippines via holiday sales of our cards, music, jewelry and tshirts. Please consider channel your holiday shopping into much needed recovery work, while getting hand letterpressed cards + beautiful presents for your loved ones. Every bit we can raise is truly appreciated, both by us and communities in the Philippines.

On a side note, I've raised $515 so far in sales for Bantayan Island. My friend Martha, whose family I'm channeling the money through (they are long-time supporters of livelihood + empowerment projects on Bantayan and I trust them), was overwhelmed with emotion. That is enough to put roofs on 5 houses in Bantayan. I don't consider $515 to be a huge amount, but it goes a long long way in the Philippines.

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Reposted from mole333 by brooklynliberal

About 6 years ago, one of the top climate scientists, Jim Hanson (who my wife indirectly worked for at the time), declared we have only 10 years left to mitigate the effects of global warming before we just have to take the full consequences of our stupidity right in the face. He got some criticism from this statement even among climate scientists because of the apparent precision of his estimate, but the gist of his warning is valid: we have a VERY limited time to act to mitigate the effects of global warming, and it is NOW, like RIGHT NOW, that we have to deal with this crisis.

Since he made his warning, the actual pace of global warming effects has actually ACCELERATED. So we might even have LESS time than Jim Hanson suggested. Was his warning excessively precise? Yeah, sure it was. We can't know precisely how much time we have left, but I don't think he was that far off and the more scientific info that comes in, the more I am convinced that our time to act is running out.

Arctic ice volume is expected, at current rate of decline, to reach zero (that means an ice free Arctic Ocean!) around 2015 (maybe 2016 if we are lucky!) according to modeling from the PIOMAS ice volume project at the University of Washington in Seattle. As that happens we WILL reach a critical tipping point in approximately the same time frame.

Now I personally don't think that all the supposed tipping points that hit the internet are valid. But there is one VERY clear, VERY frightening tipping point that WILL occur approximately in the same time frame as an ice-free Arctic Ocean, which means around 2015 or so. That is the release of methane that is frozen in the Arctic. From BBC News:

"In 2007, the water [off northern Siberia] warmed up to about 5C (41F) in summer, and this extends down to the sea bed, melting the offshore permafrost."

Among the issues this raises is whether the ice-free conditions will quicken release of methane currently trapped in the sea bed, especially in the shallow waters along the northern coast of Siberia, Canada and Alaska.

Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, though it does not last as long in the atmosphere...

"With 'business-as-usual' greenhouse gas emissions, we might have warming of 9-10C in the Arctic.

"That will cement in place the ice-free nature of the Arctic Ocean - it will release methane from offshore, and a lot of the methane on land as well."

This would - in turn - exacerbate warming, across the Arctic and the rest of the world.

The release of this much methane into the atmosphere is one of the MOST frightening things in our near future. MUCH more so than a nuclear Iran or the deficit or pretty much anything else we are facing. If we don't act RIGHT NOW to stop it, this critical tipping point WILL happen within the next 5-10 years. We will see a MASSIVE change in our climate if we don't work hard NOW to stop it. And the result will be devastating to each and every one of us.

Got that? We are RIGHT NOW at the tipping point and just about EVERY action YOU PERSONALLY take influences that tipping point.

If you have kids (like I do) look them in the eyes and ask yourself it you have done enough to stop this tipping point that will slam your kids or your grand kids like a sledgehammer.

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Reposted from oldpotsmuggler by brooklynliberal

All of the kids who could make it there went to the house of our family on Northern Cebu Island, and all of those kids left with candy. That was never the intent back in October when we launched that candy on its way from the U.S., but sometimes outcomes seem to get made for us.

One interesting aspect of Philippine social structure is that "family support remittances" are encouraged to be made "in kind", and not only as cash. Each of the millions of expatriate filipinos, spread far and wide across the planet as opportunity permits or circumstance dictates, can ship large boxes (24"x18"x24" commonly) back home with, really, very few limitations. No contraband, and no commercial quantites/intent. "Balikbayan Boxes" are a very nice thing to do for family. But at $130 each for shipping and any conceivable amount for contents we're really much more hit or miss on the goody packages than we would like to be. But suffice it to say that three of them had filled gradually over time, with all manner of odds and ends, and were sufficicently in the way that we finally cut back on some other support things and our local service provider started them on their journey around the first part of October. About the time that giant bags of cheap Halloween candy started hitting the shelves. So we topped off with twenty, thirty pounds or so, taped everything up tight, and sent them off to the ship.

It was our intent, based on the normal expectation, that ETA would be in that general first part of November. And of course we would have planned otherwise if we had had any way of knowing a month before that the time window we were targeting would have put our three boxes, candy and all, on a perfect collison course with the largest ocean born storm to make a landfall in modern history. At the time we were not happy to be notified by our chosen freight forwarder that the U.S. side of that sort of thing had randomly chosen our personal freight to be channeled through further inspection processes. Engendering delay!

My, my, my, what a difference a couple of weeks can make. Instead of all involved suffering anxiety and heartburn, the golden load, the sweet paradise graced and blessed more young tongues and tummys than ever was imagined to be the case. Of course we called as soon as possible and asked that that particular bounty be as widely shared as possible. And as we imagined, and more than a little expected, we were told that the kids were beginning to arrive in ever larger numbers even as we spoke.

So now I don't know why none of the "food aid packages" that I've read about include candy. Such a simple gesture, and one that I'm gratefully now able to understand the importance of.

Reposted from Lefty Coaster by Lawrence

After arriving on earthquake stricken Bohol Island my first task was to reach Project Bohol's base near the town of Antequera, and to do that I had to cross the river next to the collapsed Arbatan Bridge by hiring an outrigger canoe, as a new temporary bridge was being erected in its place.

After crossing the river I hired a motorized tricycle for the rest of the trip. As we went up the road I saw dozens of collapsed homes, signs painted across the roadway so large it could be seen by the air with the message: "We need Help" and signs along the side saying "We need Food and Water" and a grim on that read "Dead Lydy" (Lady). Bohol suffered comparatively minor damage from Typhoon Yolanda compared to the neighboring island of Lyte, were All Hands is about to launch two new projects to help disaster victims there.

Volunteers with Project Bohol come from all over the world. On my first day I was assigned to one of the several All Hands Project Bohol teams, and we de-constructed this wrecked house, saving the materials for potential use during reconstruction.

The family living next to this destroyed home requested to be provided with a Shelter Box as some of their neighbors across the road already were living in like this one with a collapsed church just up the road.

Project Bohol assigned the team I was part of to their fellow volunteer Patrick from Redmond Washington to train us to set up the Shelter Box tents.

All Hands Volunteers from Canada the US and Mauritius help to set up a Shelter Box Tent.  

After we finished the elderly homeowner told each one of us on the verge of tears: "I love you."

It was also meant for all of the generous people who hlped buy her Shelter Box, and those who helped All Hands Project Bohol help with our work with victims of these disasters.

This was the shelter an extended family of 11 was living in before we set up their Shelter Box tent next to it.

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Reposted from Doctor Who by Lawrence

Sitting around the family table with a sturdy roof over my head and food aplenty on this Thanksgiving Day (as many of you undoubtedly also have done), I started thinking about our fellow human beings in the Typhoon Haiyan region of the Philippines.  Well over a million people in that Region are without a home or without relatives, or both.  They have little to be thankful for on this day (compared to many of us) beyond their life, the clothes on their backs a little donated food and water.

So before I sat down on my couch and let the "tric" drug in the turkey put me to sleep, I decided to make a small contribution to help out these people on this special day of thanks.  If you have similar feelings, join me after the jump /\ over the squiggle for some important links to relief agencies.    


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Reposted from iambic pentameter by Lawrence

Like a number of Daily Kos members, I am a teacher. I have been a member of the DKos community since 2008. I never found the time or courage to write, but three weeks ago, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) wreaked havoc on the Philippines, my home country. I’ve lived outside the Philippines for the past 20 years, but my extended family is still based in Manila. Fortunately, none of them was affected by the storm.  This, my first diary, is based on a short talk that I gave at the school where I work. My intent was to thank students and faculty for initiating a fundraiser on behalf of our local Red Cross chapter, which had sent workers to several towns in the Visayas (Central Philippines). I hope that this diary sheds a new angle on the devastation, and encourages readers to contribute to organizations that are aiding the affected areas.

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