Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lives of danger, poverty on Philippines' typhoon coast

Terra Daily via AFP: Life is a constant throw of the dice for farmer Nilo Dilao and other residents of the Philippine island of Samar, the ground zero for many of East Asia's deadliest storms. Homes, boats, crops, livestock and jobs are all on the line each time the monster winds roar in from the Pacific Ocean, leaving survivors to mourn their dead and pick up the broken pieces, year in and year out.

"Life is a struggle here," Dilao, 43, told AFP a few days after Typhoon Hagupit destroyed his shanty and killed more than 20 people this month. He likened the plight of local people to those of stray chickens. "We're scratching at the soil non-stop in hopes of finding a scrap to eat," he said.

Hagupit came a year after Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest ever storm recorded on land, killed 7,350 people on Samar and neighbouring islands.

Samar, about half the size of Belgium, is often the first major Asian landmass hit by the more than 20 tropical storms or typhoons that are born in the Pacific Ocean each year.

With much of the mountainous island stripped by deforestation, most of its 1.8 million residents live on narrow, sea-level strips along the coast, at the mercy of the storms' ferocious winds and tsunami-like ocean surges....

In Samar, after 2013's Typhoon Haiyan. US Department of Defense photo

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