It’s Donors Choose time again at ScienceBlogs. I’ve contributed in the past, even earning myself a beautiful print from Jessica at Bioephemera. (That’s right, Comrade PhysioProf and I have the same art hanging on our walls, and we’re both very happy about it.)
But right now, well….
Authorities are bracing for what they described as another “major problem” that may be caused by potential super typhoon “Pepeng” this weekend while the country is still recovering from the massive damage incurred from tropical storm “Ondoy,” (international code name: “Ketsana”).
The National Disaster Coordinating Council executive officer and concurrent Office of the Civil Defense administrator Glenn Rabonza said on Thursday they are expecting downpour in Metro Manila, one of the areas hardest hit by “Ondoy” which wrecked havoc last weekend.
Meanwhile, data from the NDCC indicated that as of 3 p.m. Thursday, the casualty toll from “Ondoy” has risen to 280 dead, 42 missing and four injured. About 512,092 families or 2,506,845 persons have been affected and caused about P4.8 billion (about $101 million) in damages to agriculture and infrastructure.
Before the disaster struck, the majority of the population in American Samoa lived below the poverty line, with tuna canneries, coconut plantations and tourism representing the bulk of the territory’s economic activity.
The canneries produce the tuna consumed in millions of American households, with StarKist and Chicken of the Sea having huge factories on American Samoa. But the local tuna industry has been in turmoil since the companies were forced to pay workers the U.S.-mandated minimum wage, something they have historically avoided.
Long before the tsunami hit, Chicken of the Sea planned to close its packing plant on the island this week and lay off more than 2,100 workers, amounting to a double-whammy for workers who lost their jobs and saw their homeland ravaged by disaster in the same week.
Throughout a chaotic Thursday in Padang, rescue workers, soldiers and frantic residents searched together into the night with precious little earth-moving equipment or electricity, combing crushed offices, hotels, hospitals and schools for survivors.
The death toll rose to 1,100 people on Thursday, with many hundreds more injured, according to John Holmes, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator, speaking at a news conference at the United Nations.
“I fear these numbers will rise as more information becomes available,” Mr. Holmes said.
On Thursday morning, just as the city’s airport was reopening and rescue teams were setting to work, Padang was rattled by another earthquake, this one registering a magnitude of 6.6. This second quake, which hit about 150 miles south of Padang, damaged hundreds of buildings in the nearby town of Jambi, officials said. There were no reports of casualties so far from the second temblor, Mr. Holmes said.