Daily Archives: 12/04/2004

Typhoon Nanmadol

People walk across an almost deserted bridge in Galbadon, northern Philippines, as heavy rains signal the arrival of Typhoon Nanmadol, the second such storm to hit in the space of a week. Photograph: Aaron Favila/AP
One final post on Typhoon Nanmadol and the devastation in the Philippines. The latest storm left approximately 30 people dead in its wake, in addition to the nearly 1,000 that perished in a series of earlier storms.

Aid workers and relief supplies are stymied in their attempts to reach the affected areas. The roads are washed out and seas are too rough. A naval vessel bearing supplies was forced to turn back because of rough seas, so 400 soldiers are marching into the area on foot, bearing relief supplies. Government officials are urging people to bury their dead. The major fear is that all the corpses and lack of sanitation will lead to outbreaks of disease.

Authorities are placing the blame for the devastation on illegal timber logging, which has left many areas susceptible to heavy rains and landslides.

In addition to the horrific human cost of this storm season, estimates place the agricultural loss in livestock and crops at 1.3 billion pesos ($23 million). This is truly a catastrophe for the Philippines. I urge people to help send relief aid or money to the Philippines.

A Couple Links

Heading out for the Japanese Festival at Ypao in a bit, but I thought I’d toss up a couple links first.

  • Frontline looks at the history of credit cards. An interesting documentary on how the banking industry took a loss leader, revolving lines of unsecured credit, and turned it into the linchpin of the modern consumer economy. Fascinating stuff.
  • Science writers skew their journalism by a political agenda. No real surprises here, science writers who cannot comprehend the research they report often omit factors and inject their own personal biases into stories. The example cites how conservative reporters emphasize biological differences between the sexes while more liberal journalists focus on the socio-cultural factors that lead to sexual disparity.
  • I’m still working on putting up some vacation photos from New Zealand, I’ll probably get around to it tomorrow morning. Curiously the author of a blog I read was also in New Zealand for Thanksgiving, and just across from Fletcher Bay on the Great Barrier Island. Small world. He jumped off the Sky Tower too, something I was too cheap to attempt.

Head In A Hole

The Devil's PunchbowlA man tumbled to his death Wednesday night in Tumon, during an ill-advised bit of late night spelunking. Around 11:00 pm Wednesday night, two adventurers set out to explore the cave and one of the men fell into the cave, plummeting to his death. Apparently the duo did not bring flashlights or any other light source, and the unfortunate victim simply stumbled into the pit in the dark.

The Devil’s Punchbowl or Devil’s Mouth is a 50 foot (16 meter) deep cave adjacent to the Hilton Resort and Spa in Tumon, on property that was once part of the old Guam Memorial Hospital. The cave is in a fenced off area, covered with dense tangantangan brush. There’s a fence around the area, but I wouldn’t say it was particularly off-limits. My impression was always that the fence was put up by the Hilton people. I’ve check out the cave myself in the past, but that was years ago and it certainly wasn’t in the dead of night without a flashlight.

The Saturday PDN revealed that the man’s name is Kevin Carolla, and gave more specific information about the accident. Apparently the ground gave way beneath him on Wednesday night, causing the fatal plunge.