Nature and Man: Myths about Science

We have technology that would create such monster storms like Yolanda. We have technology that uses rockets to dissipate the winds of a strong typhoon. Sounds like a clip from a science-fiction film. Popular media really have a way of misinforming the public of what science is. Science is always portrayed as an enabler, always confused with its cousin technology. Worse, there is always the evil scientist.

Science is about understanding ourselves and the universe we live in. The following is an example:

Above captured from

The above is from the IPCC report on climate change in 2007. Yolanda, of course, is not yet a direct evidence of anthropogenic effects on climate. But Yolanda did happen. And we have now seen the energy unleashed by a typhoon as strong as Yolanda. How much can a developing or poor country like the Philippines prepare for a strong typhoon like Yolanda? Michael Muskal of the LA Times provides the perspective to help us answer this question:

Katrina caused a thousand deaths while Sandy killed more than a hundred in the United States. Sandy passed through one of the most developed and affluent regions in the world. Yolanda passed through among the poorest regions in the world.

There is not really that much that science could do at this point to help prepare for these storms. But there is something that we all could still do. And it is during the aftermath. One should not forget that Katrina became a real disaster in the US because of the poor response made by the government after the storm has long passed. At this time, it is really pointless to talk and dwell on "what should have been done". Now is the time that we must simply extend a helping hand....

From CNN,

How to help Typhoon Haiyan survivors

By Christopher Dawson and Jennifer Grubb, CNN
November 10, 2013 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
A woman mourns her dead son at a chapel in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, eastern island of Leyte on November 9, 2013.
A woman mourns her dead son at a chapel in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, eastern island of Leyte on November 9, 2013.

  • Relief organizations are accessing needs, but there are ways to help now
  • Typhoon Haiyan left utter devastation and thousands of casualties in the Philippines
  • As the storm targets Vietnam, aid may be needed there
(CNN) -- The stories coming out of the Philippines are unimaginable. Rushing water and wind tearing children away from their parents' arms. A death toll that may be over 10,000. A city of 200,000 in which no buildings appear to have survived intact.
One of the most intense typhoons on record, Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) left catastrophic destruction behind.
If you're looking for someone missing in the Philippines, or if you have information about someone there, has launched the Typhoon Yolanda Person Finder. A Google crisis map has also been added to detail evacuation centers and areas designated for relief.
Charities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world are responding to this disaster. Many are detailed below with how they're providing aid and how you can help them make a difference.
Emergency support
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has deployed rescue and relief teams to evaluate the damage and to support rescue efforts in the areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. You can donate to the Philippine Red Cross by selecting the Supertyphoon Yolanda campaign on their donation page. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the American Red Cross are both supporting the Philippine Red Cross and are ready to provide additional assistance. The Canadian Red Cross is also working with the PRC and are accepting donations for theirTyphoon Haiyan Fund to assist all countries affected by this storm. In addition, the British Red Cross has launched a Typhoon Haiyan Appeal that you can support.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is working with local authorities, the Filipino Jewish community and their global partners to assist in providing for survivors' immediate needs. You can support their efforts online or by phone at 1-212-687-6200.
CARE's emergency response teams are coordinating with local partners in the Philippines to provide food, water, shelter and health care for those in need. Their teams in Vietnam are preparing for the potential need there as Typhoon Haiyan continues its devastation. You can support CARE's efforts on their website, or by phone at 1-800-521-2273 within the United States or +1-404-681-2252 outside the U.S.
Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the U.S., is on the ground helping with water purification, shelter materials and essential living supplies. You can donate to the organization's efforts online or you can call 1-877-435-7277. You can also type in your phone number on the website and a representative will call you back to take your donation.
Convoy of Hope's Global Disaster Response Team has shipping containers full of food and supplies on the way to the Philippines. The organization is preparing more supplies to be sent like canned goods, hygiene kits and water filtration units. You can visit Convoy of Hope's website to donate funds to their efforts or call 1-417-823-8998.
Food and water
The World Food Programme was already providing emergency food assistance in the Philippines following the October earthquake. With these emergency food stocks stretched thin, they're now mobilizing additional supplies and are flying in 40 tons of fortified biscuits in the coming days. Additional food supplies are needed. You can help these efforts by donating online or by calling 1-202-747-0722 domestically or +39-06-65131 for international calls.
Samaritan's Purse has sent disaster relief specialists, including water and nutrition experts, to the Philippines to deliver immediate aid. They have launched the Philippines Emergency Relief fund for this disaster, which you can support online or by phone at 1-828-262-1980.
World Vision is responding in the Philippines by first providing emergency food and clean water. They will also work to create child-friendly spaces and help families rebuild from this disaster. They have launched a Philippines Disaster Response Fund that you can support online or by calling 1-888-511-6443.
ShelterBox was already in the Philippines providing shelter after the 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol on October 15. They are now expanding their operations to provide tents and essential equipment for families left homeless after Typhoon Haiyan. You can support their work in the Philippines either online or by calling 1-941-907-6036.
Habitat for Humanity is already providing help to 30,000 families with shelter repair kits to rebuild their damaged homes. You can support this work by donating from the Philippines to their Re-Build Philippines Fund or from the U.S. by contributing to their Disaster Response Fund. You can also make a donation by phone at 1-800-HABITAT.
Medical assistance
Americares has an emergency shipment on the way to the Philippines with enough medical aid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and pain relievers. You can support Americares with an online donation or by calling 1-800-486-4357.
International Medical Corps has pre-positioned medical supplies and is coordinating with partners in the Philippines to distribute and provide medical aid. Their team is on the way. You can support their efforts online or by calling 1-800-481-4462.
More than 1.5 tons of emergency medicine and medical supplies are en route to the Philippines from Direct Relief. The supplies include antibiotics, pain relievers, nutritional supplements, antifungal medications, wound dressings and chronic disease medicines. You can call in your donation by dialing 1-805-964-4767 or you can goonline to support the organization.
Helping children
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is helping children and their families in the Philippines receive shelter, clean water, nutrition and vaccines. Their emergency response can be supported online or by calling 1-800-367-5437. You can also donate directly to UNICEF in the Philippines here.
Save the Children is offering disaster relief support for children in the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam after Typhoon Haiyan. You can support their Philippines Annual Monsoon and Typhoon Children in Emergency Fund online. You can also donate by phone at 1-800-728-3843.


  1. Please Help Our Fellow Filipinos Who Suffered from the Super Typhoon

    My fellow teachers:

    The past few days have been extremely sad and bitter for our neighbors in Eastern and Western Visayas as well as those in Northern Cebu and Palawan. The extent of the damage is far from being known since a lot of the communities affected are still unreachable. Parts of Samar and Leyte remain isolated. Even the number of casualties is unknown but there are estimates of at least 10,000 fatalities (I hope this estimate is wrong).

    Buildings were destroyed including homes and especially, schools. This came after typhoons in Luzon, unrest in Zamboanga, and a strong earthquake devastating Bohol and Cebu.

    But this super typhoon Yolanda is perhaps the worse. Survivors in Tacloban have now started to loot in despair and hopelessness.

    Up till now, we still have not heard from our leaders and members of Teachers Dignity Coalition in the affected areas especially Samar and Leyte. We have not received information directly from them except for what we could see in the news. I have not heard from my own relatives in Leyte.

    Brothers and sisters, we are in dire need. Please extend whatever you can. I know that we could only do that much. But the little help we could give can add up. The Teachers Dignity Coalition would not be able to do its own relief drive, but there are better equipped organizations that are more than able to send aid to the victims. Please donate through these groups.

    Thank you very much and may we all live through this.

    Benjo Basas

    Teachers Dignity Coalition


    (Please share!)

    Mga kapatid na guro,

    Lubhang mapait ang karanasang sinapit ng ating mga kababayan sa Eastern at Western Visayas, gayundin sa ilang bahagi ng Northern Cebu at Palawan. Hindi pa rin natitiyak ang lawak ng pinsala sapagkat marami pang mga bayan, lalo na sa Samar at Leyte ang isolated pa rin hanggang ngayon. Maging ang bilang ng mga nasawi ay 'di pa rin tiyak bagamat tinatayang aabot umano ito sa 10, 000 (sana ay mali ang tantiya).

    Nawasak ang mga gusali, mga tahanan at lalo na ang mga paaralan. Matapos ang magkakasunod na bagyo sa Luzon, ang kaguluhan sa Zamboanga at ang malakas na lindol sa Bohol at Cebu ay isang delubyo muli ang tumama sa ating bansa.

    Ito na sigurong Bagyong Yolanda ang pinakamatindi. Ang ilan sa ating mga kababayan sa Tacloban ay napilitan nang puwersahang buksan ang mga tindahan at kunin ang anumang mapakikinabangan, unang pagkakataong nangyari ito sa ating bansa marahil dala ng desperasyon at kawalan ng pag-asa.

    Hanggang ngayon ay hindi natin makontak ang mga lider at kasapi ng Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) sa mga apektadong lugar lalo na sa Samar at Leyte. Hindi tayo makakuha ng aktuwal na impormasyon maliban doon sa mga napapanood natin sa balita. Ako mandi'y hindi makakuha ng balita mula sa aking mga kaanak sa Leyte.

    Mga kapatid, kailangan ng mga kababayan natin ang anumang tulong na maaari nating maibigay sa kanila. Batid kong limitado ang kaya nating gawin at ibigay subalit ito'y dadami kung pagsasama-samahin ang ating tulong. Hindi na natin kakakayanin pang magsagawa ng sariling fund o relief drive kaya ipinapayo kong magbigay na lamang tayo ng tulong sa mga sanay nang humawak ng mga ganitong operasyon, halimbawa mga TV network na madaling makapagpapadala ng tulong sa mga lugar na apektado.

    Maraming salamat mga kapatid at mabuhay tayong lahat!


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