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Michael In the Philippines Update #1
Flew from Maui to Honululu, the Honululu to Manila early this morning. Had a quick lay over in Manila and then down to Cagayan south of the disaster area. I was invited to stay with the sister of friends from Tuscaloosa whom I know very well. They have been treating me like a king so far. When I went to meet with a power company today, a couple of the men saluted me. It was awesome and made me feel appreciated.
Lesly took me to McDonalds after a long flight, and I had a great talk with her father later about his aid work and about his connections. His power company is heading into Tacloban tomorrow to set up base camp and start restoring power. It is extremely tempting to ask for a slot with them, it would get me into the area with people I trust, but there are some unknowns right now and I wouldn't be able to move around much. Without transportation, I can't really use my skill sets.
Had a couple disappointing things happen, Id rather not discuss them, but I feel for the first day I have put myself into a good position and I will continue to improve it just a little each day. Its a chess game, the board is constantly changing, if you follow the basic rules of chess, you should do well and it applies here more now than ever.
1. Minimize Weaknesses
2. Magnify Strengths
3. Increase Mobility
4. Improve Options
Getting into Tacloban without a way out and no security around the base camp makes me a little nervous.
There are some important things I know:
1. Cell Towers are back up, even in Tacloban
2. Gas is $10 a liter on Leyte Island
3. There is going to be the largest bottleneck in the history of disaster aid forming between Cebu City and Omoroc because they are trying to get everything over by ferry. That isn't going to work. Even Doctors Without Borders, probably one of the best first respoder groups Ive ever known about can't get over. Just amazingly sad.
4. Military is running the airport at Tacloban, no NGOs allowed yet. Until this changes, there are going to be major, major distribution problems.
5. Once the aid does get in, it will sit on the tarmac like it did in Haiti. They do not seem to know how to distribute it.
Wish they would use my skill sets. This is what I do.
I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who has donated to the Global Hunger Expedition. We have raised a HUGE amount of money and the food prep is going forward. Our Japan friends really stepped up to the plate big time. Jen, Jason, Pat & Pop, several others of you- wow….thank you guys so so much. We are going to make this happen.
Im exhausted. Crashing now, really need a solid connection to get to work.
Map showing my locations. Landed in Manila (green arrow). Currently staying in Cagayan (blue arrow) south of the disaster area. Tacloban (red arrow) is the center of the disaster area.
Close up colorized map NASA posted to their Instagram page showing areas hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan. Tacloban City is at the top of the photo.