Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The editor/producer of Opinion invited me to write an article related to the Haiyan tragedy.  I wrote "Childhood in the Path of Typhoons" - now in CNN Opinion.

The article "Childhood in the Path of Typhoons" inspired Emeniano Acain Somoza Jr. to write the following poem:
November 14, 2013 at 2:46am
(Because - for a moment we thought - we have been erased... Here is an erasure poem taken from 'Childhood in the path of typhoons' by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard. However, due to editing limitations on FB, please click on here to see the full layout.)

whip through
the rain if the moon
the birds

could gauge
how thick and dark the clouds
how dangerous

Signal No. 1 meant rain and some wind, No.

2 meant stronger rain and wind
Nos. 3 and 4 meant

flood; branches of trees break; trees
uprooted, corrugated metal roofing come loose and fly about, electric
power lines break.

That's how it is; that is what the
Filipinos expect

which look too bad:
Streets littered with debris, trees uprooted, cars flipped over on their sides, some roofing damaged, store signs askew.

"We need help. Food and water."
Deep inside,
the reality.   

the awful destruction that Haiyan had
wrought in other parts of Philippines.

images of villages destroyed, of people wandering around
of survivors holding up signs begging
dead lying by the roadside or under rubble.

Filipinos respect and love their dead, just
that they can't take the time to bury their loved ones.

I wonder what went so wrong
Why have so many people died? Why are survivors left on their own?

fact: The death toll will rise


~end poem~

Update from BBC

More than nine million people have been affected in the Philippines. Many are now struggling to survive without food, shelter or clean drinking water.
A picture is slowly emerging of the full damage wrought by the storm:
  • The exposed easterly town of Guiuan, Samar province - population 40,000 - is said to be largely destroyed
  • Three-hundred people were killed in the town of Basey, also in Samar, the provincial disaster office confirmed
  • Tacloban, Leyte province, was largely flattened by a massive storm surge and scores of corpses are piled by the roadside, leaving a stench in the air as they rot. Hundreds of people gathered at the airport desperate for food and water, others trying to get a flight out
  • Disaster worker Dennis Chong told the BBC that assessments in the far north of Cebu province had shown some towns had suffered "80-90% damage"
  • Baco, a city of 35,000 in Oriental Mindoro province, was 80% under water, the UN said.

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