Monday, December 04, 2006

Typhoon Durian (Reming)

Some news reports have said that a thousand or several thousand people may have died as Typhoon Durian hit the Philippines. Travelers to and residents of Southeast Asia will know that nobody wants to be hit with a durian, but it still makes a silly name for a typhoon. In the Philippines, this typhoon was called Reming. Despite the high death toll, the news is eclipsed on CNN by two other World stories: the re-election of Venezuelan President Chavez in a landslide, and a Saudi sleeper cell story. On BBC, the typhoon doesn't even make the top 10 world stories, but not just through the fault of the editors, but because few readers are clicking on the story to read it. Perhaps the media are lagging behind the curve because they have nobody there to report, and thus nothing to say. Even if anderson-cooper, wolf-blitzer, or lou-dobbs are flown in to the area to report in a few days, they have no context to interpret what they are seeing anyway.

I went to fLIckr to see if anyone had been able to enter the disaster area, take photos, and leave again to a place with electricity and upload the photos. Not likely, right? But I found the flickr page and blog of Paranaque photojournalist Linus G. Escandor II, which satisfied some of my curiosity about the situation. I could appreciate the ups and downs of his day as I read about being sent to a beauty pageant early one day and photographing a victim of a gunshot to the head later in the day. It's a large-scale disaster in a beautiful country of beautiful people. …!
He does some great work.

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