Hundreds dead, hundreds missing and millions without homes.
Almost all my coworkers who have been sent to report from the disaster areas still have not come back yet, or have had a break since last week when they first arrived. Each day they face homeless victims of the flooding and mudslides, some sick, some heart broken, some whose heart have been torn to pieces like their family was by Morakot. My colleagues every day see dead bodies, stray body parts, have to wade through disease infested water and slug through mud and have no choice but to wear the same three sets of clothing they brought with them, which they've been washing by hand in their cheap hotel room every night. One coworker wrote from Taitung, "When we arrived at the scene, the local there said "the previous TV reporter that got here first told us not to talk to you guys because we already talked to them.'" A colleague from Gala TV wrote, "Are these government officials here for disaster relief, or are they here to take publicity photos? What is the matter with them?" Then on TV we all see President Ma Ying-jeou first blaming the Central Weather Bureau for underestimating rainfall (why, I never knew he was a meteorological expert, and why doesn't he leave the experts do what they do, from forecasting the weather to investigating whether and how much the forecasters were at fault), then refusing aid from the US when first offered days ago (how many more people had to suffer from starvation, sickness, lack of shelter and even death during this time?) then finally deciding to appeal for international aid days later, again blaming victims for not evacuating themselves, and then promising a man a bulldozer to dig out his father from underneath the mud then not keeping that promise... A friend at the CDC said, "Ma should have left the experts to do their job, and as for himself, instead of blaming everyone else, just reach out and comfort his people." All such dreary news. All such depressing news.
However, this disaster has also brought out the best in the community. People have donated billions of TWD, food, supplies and clothes. Students, expats, ordinary citizens have all made their way down there to help with disaster relief. Entertainers Taiwanese and foreign have flown in to help raise funds. The international community overseas is also helping raise money as well. I'm really touched to see how much compassion people have and how generous they are with their money and time.
I had felt so useless in Taipei, not being on the front line and also felt so guilty on my two off days (which I was really dying for) this week. But there still needs a skeleton crew up here to hold down the fort. Most of the footage gathered in the south are being transmitted via SNG vans back to the station in Taipei, and we write their stories for them. And now that I'm somewhat recharged (70%, which is not bad), I think I'm good to go again. I cancelled the next 3 off days and will be going back on the night shift for a team member that is still in Taitung. So after my morning of anchoring, starting at 6h00 tomorrow, I'll be working nights again. I've got my vitamins and supplements and I'm ready to go. It feels good to contribute more than I have to. It feels good to be part of a team.
It also feels good going to bed feeling this way :)
See you on TV at 6h00, 8h00. 9h00 and 11h00 on Channel 53 tomorrow!