Watching the pictures from the Philippines across the TV screen made me think. It is so easy to gaze at the images and wonder at the appalling scenes but it is also fairly simple to change the channel and put them to the back of your mind.
I decided to put the typhoon and the subsequent disaster into a scenario that I could relate to. What would happen if Typhoon Haiyan had not made landfall in some far off place but had happened closer to home. What about if it had landed in the Thames estuary.
Paris would have been hit by the storm, as would Birmingham. These are conservative estimates – The storm covered an area that actually reached from the north of Spain to the south of Sweden. Think about that for a bit. Go take a look on a map and see how big that actually is.
The surge generated by the storm was (by most estimations) around the height of two double decker buses. You can probably imagine two double decker buses on top of one another, but can you contemplate a whole line of them? Behind that line would have been another and another. These lines don’t stop when they hit something either, they just carry on round and over and through. As this surge came up into central London it would have destroyed the Millennium wheel and taken out most of the sights that visitors to the capital take for granted. The winds that came with the storm were moving at the same speed as a formula 1 racing car, flat out in top gear at the end of a very long straight. Think of the trees in the London Parks being picked up by that and slammed into The Shard or one of the other new buildings dotted around the place.
Wherever you are reading this, think about the place outside, the nearest town to you. The buildings are gone, there are just piles of bricks where the library and the church was. Many of the houses that are rubble may have people buried beneath them and the high street will be littered with bodies, I say bodies, there’s the shopkeeper who serves you every morning and the lollipop lady who helps the children cross the street. You’re hoping that one of them isn’t your grand daughter, you haven’t seen or head from her since the storm hit. There are no rats about, nor dogs or cats come to think of it. They’ve all been washed away by the surge or blown out of sight by the wind.
There’s no supply of clean water at all. Maybe bottled water in the ruins of shops but that isn’t going to last long. There’s no electricity, the only ready source of fuel for cooking and heating is timber from the broken buildings but even if you can get a fire lit there’s nothing to cook.
The hospital (if it is still operational) also has no clean water. Any medical supplies locally available will be used up rapidly so injuries are going to have to be triaged. You’re going to survive so you need nothing, you might survive so you’ll get treated or you won’t survive so what’s the point of wasting medicines and time on you.
You can help out though. Donating a few pounds to one of the many charities that are helping out will save lives. I know that there are lots of causes that constantly call on us for support but I think this one is a big one. If you can’t help financially then you can help out by offering your time. If you can’t do anything else, you can share this post on Facebook. If you are a blogger you can “press” this on WordPress or even just cut and paste the links below and any other part of the blog that you think may help.
Donations can be made through countless ways, here are some UK wide charities.
All of them offer an option to donate by text as well as more traditional methods.