News bulletins screaming of horrific natural disasters can hardly convey the suffering and aftermath of the events on people's lives. Sometimes you are swept into the disaster. Sometimes you have just escaped its wrath and are stuck with the burning mental images of people you know caught in the maelstrom. You are thankful. You are helpless. You can only write to yourself to relieve your conscience.
The full affects of the earthquake miles beneath the sea and its resultant wall of water may not be known for weeks. Already the news is of familiar places and people I may have known being washed away by the sea. The death toll continues to mount as we learn about no warnings being sounded in time, the low lying nature of the seaside villages, and of people being killed by a second wave as they followed the receding first wave to gather trapped fish in the lagoons.
A heavy rain hit Manila during my recent visit there last month causing vast areas of floating sewage and garbage. I can only describe Manila as a cesspool of humanity. I have no idea what is the condition of those with whom I ate bulat and drank beer; of those who work so hard to have their lives dramatically altered by fate; of those who call this place home.