Ondoy (Typhoon Ketsana) went through the Philippines about a week ago. We've got a lot of family there, so it's been a constant stream of "don't worry! we're okay!" updates for a while. We've been very fortunate; all the people are okay - not just physically unharmed, but laughing and joking now as they clean up - and that's the important part.

That's the home of one of my aunts after the floodwaters receded. They had just renovated before the typhoon hit. The reason everyone's okay is that all of the buildings that my family was in - their houses, their factories, their businesses - had multiple stories. The ground floors had water rushing in up to your shoulders at the height of it. And again, this is pretty good; the flood was up to 20 feet in some places. But everyone was able to go upstairs to bedrooms, office lofts, etc - dragging as much as they could with them - computers, vacuum cleaners, pets - and wait it out. (I'm painfully aware that most people in the Philippines do not live in two-story houses. I can't imagine what the shanty dwellers, in their tiny corrugated tin homes, had to go through. Demographics of the flood's death toll are likely to be... yeah.)

It sounds like right now is about trying to clean out the spoiled, waterlogged refrigerators, hoping that the factory equipment works after you dry and disassemble and dry and oil and reassemble it so that your business can start running once again, making sure your employees are okay (they're physically okay, but what are their lives like now?) and generally trying to get back into the pattern of a normal life. One thing I haven't heard about is how the schools reacted to this; most of my cousins there are somewhere between elementary school and college. And I don't know what it's like, really - how do you get to the market to get food? Does the kitchen work? The electricity and the computers work enough to take and send photos like the one above, at least; it took a couple days, though.

I'm just glad everyone's okay.