A daytime aerial view answered some questions I had.
When we flew into the Philippines it as night and we didn’t get to see that landscape, population density and dispersion. While Metro Manila is compact and crowded like 9 Houstons continuously joined together, there is a whole other part of the Philippines with farm land and mountains.
The vast majority of land in the Philippines was virtually unaffected by the recent typhoons. However, much of the population was impacted. There are over 700 islands that comprise the country.
The view from a rising 3500 feet gave some perspective as to why so many people, especially poor people, were affected by flooding. The Philippine government allows the poorest to claim land. They are true squatters.
Squatters’ houses, we Americans wouldn’t consider them so, are mostly second-hand lumber fragments, cardboard, tin scraps and other debris that will help provide some shelter from sun, wind and rain. The land available for squatting is along some of the major rivers.
By “along the river,” I don’t mean spacious waterfront poperty safely distanced from flowing water but shacks that share walls and even in some cases share one 4’x8′ piece of tin for the roof.
We did not work in those areas as there was nothing to clean up. We did visit with some of the people there and listened to pain-filled stories as they rebuilt with debris from fellow squatters’ homes who live upstream. We offered Hope to them and it was well received as they are a people naturally filled with hope.
I am unsure how they will rebuild or how they will replace their existence. Luckily, they don’t rely on my uncertainty. In spite of losing all, they are extremely happy, joyful and hardworking at reclaiming their lives.