A roundup of opinion online about the tragedy in the Philippines.
Jessica Alexander,The Dallas Morning News: "Wanting to help victims of a massive disaster is a human instinct that should be lauded. Unfortunately, well-meaning people repeatedly get it wrong. This time, it seems that some are already responding in unsuitable ways. ... When old shoes and clothes are sent from the U.S., they just waste people's time and slow down getting lifesaving medicines and food to affected people. …There is one simple way that people who want to help can help: Donate money."
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Adam Sobel,CNN: "Does it seem, in fact, that these weather disasters are happening more often? Well, they are. The damage caused by tropical cyclones has risen dramatically in the past century everywhere it has been assessed. But essentially all of that is attributable to development of vulnerable coastlines, rather than changes in the storms themselves. The population of the Philippines, rich in vulnerable coastlines, has roughly doubled in the past 30 years. There as elsewhere, more people are simply exposed to danger."
Jennifer Moroney and Stephanie Pezard,U.S. News & World Report: "As the United States rebalances toward Asia — a region of the world that bears the brunt of more than half of the world's natural disasters — humanitarian assistance and disaster relief is bound to become an even more frequent mission of the U.S. military than it is already. Improved preparedness and efficient coordination mechanisms can help ensure that, when time is of the essence, the United States provides the most effective response."
Conor Friedersdorf,The Atlantic: "When I read a rundown of military assets being sent to rescue survivors and deliver supplies, I feel grateful for the logistics officers marshaling their expertise, but also struck by the fact that the tools we're using were designed to fight wars and are being temporarily repurposed. I wonder what a fleet as well-funded as the U.S. military's would look like if it were optimized for natural disaster response. How many victims would have been reached already?"
St. Louis Post-Dispatch,editorial: "We can write checks, and should, but we've got our own natural disasters — heat, flood, drought, tornadoes and (knock wood) the New Madrid Fault. We've got earthquakes in our hemisphere (Haiti 2010) that haven't been cleaned up. … Climate disasters are coming so fast that the Philippines can't catch up. And maybe not the rest of us, either. If we're wise, the Philippines will be the canary in the global coal mine. This is where the worst effects of global warming are being felt first. Without serious, sustained attention and the kind of sacrifices in lifestyle that few nations seem prepared to make, every coast will feel what the coasts of the Philippines felt. Perhaps not as violently, but every bit as surely."