Is This The Best Humanity Can Do For The Philippines?

Conor Friedersdorf | The Atlantic | November 11, 2013

The inadequacy of our planning for disaster relief

Now that a storm, perhaps the most powerful in recorded history, has struck the Philippines, with winds gusting to 170 mph, a storm surge exceeding 20 feet, and an estimated 10,000 people dead; now that bodies are piling up in such quantities that local officials are digging mass graves; now that desperate survivors are telling reporters things like "Help us, help us, we are very thirsty," and "There were people—babies, children, old people—lying out on the street, with blisters over their bodies … hundreds of them;" now the world is rushing to send help.

"American military search-and-rescue helicopters, surveillance planes and Marines streamed toward the central Philippines on Sunday to survey the devastation and assist survivors," The Los Angeles Times reports. "Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed the U.S. Pacific Command to deploy rescue teams, helicopters for airlifts, logistics officers and cargo planes to assist in the relief efforts."

Help is what we ought to give, of course.