OK

First a short quote from a news piece I just read on the Huffpost:

"Twenty-seven bodies, all unidentified, were among the latest to be recovered under debris in typhoon-stricken coastal areas including the hardest hit city of Tacloban, said Maj. Reynaldo Balido, the spokesman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The overnight tally pushed the overall death toll to 6,009 while 1,779 others remain unaccounted for, the government agency said, making the typhoon the deadliest natural disaster on record to hit the Philippines.

Balido said that 20 to 30 bodies were still being found every day. Identifying cadavers in the advanced stage of decomposition and matching them with the missing is a difficult process and the reason why the number of the missing remains unchanged, he said." This one also contains an estimate of 16,000,000 persons with damaged or destroyed housing, and a damage rebuild period of three years.

On the local front, the area of the family of my wife (though not yet their particular property) now has electricity restored. When I asked about when the house would receive phone service again, she said no one wants it. It's just too expensive. The cell service never died, and with cheap phones and cheap plans no one is even hoping to get the old service back. Service that we worked so long and hard to bring them not all that many years ago.

Finally, we had a small fund raiser here, and were able to have handed out five hundred pesos each to the poorest 32 families in that neighborhood. 16,000 pesos total, and the recipients were so grateful that one not knowing local conditions would be surprised to learn that exchange rates mean that the donations only amounted to twelve dollars U.S. per family. Still, everything is relative and those 500 pesos were the only cash given to any of these folks since the typhoon first hit.

Imagine poverty so extreme, and conditions so grinding that even $12.00 looks like a ray of sunshine!

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