Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In the eye of the storm – or the effects of burning coal

What an end to our Quit Coal ship tour in the Philippines… After talking about the effects of Climate Change on the Philippines for several weeks, I experienced them first hand with “Frank” or internationally better known as Typhoon Fengshen. The Rainbow Warrior left just in time from the island of Boracay where we had launched the “Save the Climate, save Boracay” initiative with local resorts. Just hours later the typhoon struck the island.

I have never seen such torrential rainfall, flooding and strong gales for 3 days. Stuck on the paradise island of Boracay – it seemed more like hell with no way to escape; no electricity, water or any kinds of communication with the outside world.
The locals assured me that this was nothing compared to a super typhoon.
Although typhoons hit the Philippines on a regular basis, they have changed their pathway due to climate change hitting the islands more frequently and intensely. Here you can get a glimpse of the impacts.
I can tell you, that I am more than relieved that the storm is over. The sad irony is that the island of Panay with the City of Iloilo, where we have been protesting against the new coal fired power plant and pointing at the impacts of Climate Change, has been hit hardest. Greenpeace Southeast Asia is now looking if we can help with the rescue operations.
Climate Change often seems so far away to me, reduced to scientific numbers – this experience has definitely showed me that we cannot waste any more time until we act.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but you are most certainly presenting innacurate information. I know this because I live here and never left during the maelstrom. The only other massive typhoon to hit Boracay in living memory was 2 years ago and was the exact same intensity with effects. the only difference was the damage was greater then because reconstruction afterwards took this new element into account.

There was communication all over the island, I have no clue what you are talking about. Communication w/outside world? Yes, every 50 meters at internet cafes with generators. Cell service...well, no, not for a few days. But please dont present yourself as being in something horrid that was just a normal storm (or were perhaps too scared to walk outside in the rain).

The single most hilarious thing is that this site came up on my google alerts after some other greenpeace blogger made outrageous claims and a gringo down the beach rebutted him,to this single point::: no one even knew you were here! Holy crap! I cant believe GP was here and I didnt know it!