Typhoon Bopha destroys Filipino province
A damaging, powerful typhoon recently swept through the Philippines, causing untold amounts of damage and affecting families who will no doubt need an international wire transfer to help them cope with the wreckage.
According to multiple reports, in New Bataan, one of the country's most fertile farming communities and situated in the southern portion of the country, vast numbers of homeowners and farmers have been displaced after a violent typhoon came ashore in early December.
Reports indicate that as many as 310,000 people may now be homeless, as hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed by the high water levels.
Benigno Aquino III, the Philippines president, indicated in the aftermath that while he's well aware that environmental disasters can't be prevented, he's devastated by the loss of life and property, vowing to do whatever is needed to fix what's broken.
"I want to know how this tragedy happened and how to prevent a repeat," said Aquino during a recent visit to New Bataan.
The lost of life has been significant. According to the latest estimates, at least 500 people are confirmed to have died, with another 400 believed to be missing, according to reports from The Associated Press.
"Entire families may have been washed away," Mar Roxas, who serves as the government's interior secretary, recently stated.
Many people were witnesses to the typhoon's destruction. Local resident Dionisia Requinto told the AP that she considers herself one of the lucky ones, as the typhoon was enormous and came on quickly.
"The water rose so fast," said Requinto. "It was horrible. I thought it was going to be our end."
Much of world's banana supply grows in New Bataan
Some of the main staple crops that grow in New Bataan are bananas, rice, corn, coffee and coconuts. And for many farmers, all that they once had has been washed away.
Arturo Uy, governor of Compostella Valley – the province in which New Bataan is located – estimated that the damage will top at least $98 million, or the Filipino equivalent of 4 billion pesos. He also told Reuters that between 70 percent and 80 percent of plantations within the province have been destroyed, predominantly banana crops.
But New Bataan wasn't the only place that was hit by the typhoon's power. Davao Oriental, a coastal province, was the first to be affected, causing widespread property losses and leading to the untimely death of 115 people.
While many people throughout the world will be sure to send money to the Philippines to help survivors repair what's been damaged, relief agencies like the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says at least $5 million is needed right away. All of what's raised will go to the people most directly impacted by Typhoon Bopha.
Unlike the U.S., where typhoons are rare, the Philippines experiences the environmental catastrophe regularly. The Associated Press says that an average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, most of which affect the northern and central parts of the country. Forecasters say this storm will likely go down in history as a rarity, seeing as how the south is rarely impacted by them.