Not Natural

The Philippines is accustomed to destruction caused by the dozen or more monsoons that take swipes at the archipelago each summer and autumn. The country is also good at rapid recoveries: in the countryside, families begin repairing their thatched and bamboo homes even before the ground has dried. Within days, trees snapped in half start showing fresh, green growth.

Eastern Luzon is unlikely to recover so swiftly from the typhoon havoc of last week, because the disaster was only part natural—and largely the work of man. Two storms slammed in from the Philippine Sea, hitting the coastal areas...

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