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Belmont Club

Duck and Cover

November 9th, 2013 - 9:21 pm

Pictures of Tacloban clearly show what sustained 200 mph winds can do. It can toss shipping containers around like matchboxes, flip cars, level cinder block houses and uproot any tree short of a coconut palm. What it can’t do is knock down reinforced concrete structures or structures that have a small sail area.

tacloban

A friend who wrote on my Facebook page noted that the damage in Tacloban resembled pictures of the destruction during the war. And in that resemblance lies a tale.  We no longer fear air raids. Now, when natural disasters threaten, evacuees are often concentrated in gymnsiums or similar strucures for safety. But those structures can be menaced by high winds or forces which resemble those generated by weapons.

During the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, 42 buildings collapsed in Clark Air Force Base.  A nine year old girl was killed by a beam when the roof fell through in gymnasium she was sheltering in.  Roofs with a large area can be vulnerable.

And if there’s any place on earth that disaster visits regularly, it’s the Philippines. It has earthquakes (an intensity 8 hit the same region the typhoon struck); volcanoes and 11 typhoons on average a year, not to mention shipwrecks, insurgencies, terror attacks and assorted other nuisances. Any improvement in civil defense technology would see a lot of use.

The Tacloban pictures suggest that a six foot deep foxhole would have been a pretty good defense against the high winds precisely because flush structures allow overpressures to pass over them. The difference of course, is that typhoons threaten excavated protections with flooding.  Digging foxholes might save you from the winds only to drown you later.

Nevertheless, the similarity between the threats posed by high winds and high explosive blasts suggests that emergency planners should revisit the civil defense structures designed for the Second World War because the designers faced problems similar to those posed by high winds.

One interesting but now forgotten British design resembled a quonset hut built in reinforced concrete. A closer look shows that the design consists of prefabricated concrete sections that join up at the top.  The halves slot into a concrete channel which comprises the base.

A Blast From the Past

A Blast From the Past

It is called the Stanton Shelter, after the Stanton Ironworks where it was manufactured. “They could be built in any length but usually consisted of 18 precast concrete arched-shaped units (each one in two parts), bolted together to form a standard (after 1941) Air Ministry shelter for 50 men. The entrance can be a brick-lined with concrete steps (where required) and the rear unit has an emergency escape hatch. They are often above ground or semi-sunk but for concealment purposes there is a layer of earth and turf.”

A battlefield archaeologist who actually went out and measured one finds that

Floor to apex of the internal surface is 7 feet exactly. Width-7 foot 5½ inches. Made up from 18 sections bolted together, with an end cap and a door end to form a length of 30 foot 4 inches. The door has an entry access of 75 inches with a door width of 22 inches.Doorway edge is thickened to four inches to provide additional support. The two sections at the door end each have half of the escape hatch formed within the top. the hatch dimensions are 31X31 inches with an internal dimension of 24½ inches. There is a half inch wide internal lip to provide a seat for the escape hatch cover. A raising piece sat on the hatch to bring the exit up by 14 inches to allow for the soil covering. The actual thickness of each section is 2 inches. Each section has a formed rib of 2 inches wide that make up a rib of 4 inches thick. These ribs are bolted together every 22 inches. The outside top ridge is four inches high.

Construction crews that dismantled a derelect Stanton and found it weighed 20 tons. But in this age of cranes and backhoes that does not seem to be an insurmountable problem.

The Stantons are an interesting example of forgotten technology that may find uses today. In 1932 Stanley Baldwin said “the bomber will always get through”.  Maybe we no longer worry about bombers, but it is probably still correct to say: the typhoon will always get through.

Having said that, one can turn to what constitutes the real civil defense infrastructure of the Philippines. It is the social network a defense mechanism that arose over the centuries in the face of constant threats; poverty, civil unrest, volcanos, earthquakes, storms and the odd world war.

Giant volcanos, supertyphoons, earthquakes at 8 on the Richter every decade or so have engendered a dense human framework that is almost feudal. Each inhabitant has someone to run to in the social ladder above and people who depend on him from below. And for redundancy the relationships form a matrix. People have multiple family-type relationships, multiple sets of friends and belong to bewilderment of informal groupings.

This crazy social fabric has actually been supercharged by the Internet. Wikipedia says 83% of the Philippine population belongs to one Internet social networking platform or the other. In addition to “friends” you have “Facebook friends”.

A study released by Universal McCann entitled “Power To The People – Wave3″ declared the Philippines as “the social networking capital of the world,” with 83 percent of Filipinos surveyed are members of a social network. They are also regarded as the top photo uploaders and web video viewers, while they are second when it comes to the number of blog readers and video uploaders.

There’s an apocryphal story told about a rescue team happening upon the skeleton of a Filipino in front of a table laden with food. The corpse apparently died of starvation to the bewilderment of the European rescuers. One of the rescuers, a Filipino, explained what happened. “He died of starvation because he had no friends to share the meal with and couldn’t eat from loneliness.”

In comparison to Filipino social networks the equivalent structures in many Western countries seem distinctly weak,  as if a tradeoff had been made betwen the physical infrastructure and the social; where the poor live in housing projects far better than Filipino slums but where the nuclear family has been driven to extinction and the only friend anyone has left is their EBT card; where government is all the kin you have.

James Taranto described the ideal modern vision of the ideal Western woman in his piece The Lonely Life of Julia. “In Obama’s ideal world, men are replaced by bureaucrats.” ‘Julia’ is a fictional character that was created by the Obama campaign to depict an ideal life.

The most shocking bit of the Obama story is that Julia apparently never marries. She simply “decides” to have a baby, and Obama uses other people’s money to help her take care of it. … In due course she bears a son named Zachary, the only other character in the tale.

Social Networks

Networked?

But it’s a choice. Julia will do alright as long as the government keeps paying out. But one wonders what happens if the music stops: should Julia’s apartment get totaled by an earthquake or if there’s civil unrest or she’s de-housed by a 200 mile an hour hurricane, then what? Social networks of the old fashioned kind were once prevalent in America and in Europe. Maybe they have their uses still, along with the Stanton shelters.

Update: People have asked how to donate money to the typhoon victims.  Here’s a link to Caritas Manila, which is basically the relief agency of the Catholic Church.  There’s also the local Red Cross, which takes Paypal in addition to credit cards.


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Top Rated Comments   
Nice historical rendition. Thanks.

Taffy 3 and the battle at Leyte Gulf will forever live in honor in naval history. That battle is the ultimate example of "why you play the game". Out gunned, out numbered, out classed in every way, those destroyers and DE's of Taffy 3 changed the course and length of the war (while bailing out Halsey). Commander Evans of the Johnston epitomized a heroic Commanding Officer of fighting US Navy ship. I'd toss my oak leafs in the trash; though I wore the same rank, I was nothing compared to this fine officer. So many good and heroic men were lost in my father's war. The actions of Taffy 3 were amazing - just breath taking.

Salute!
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
JFSanders,
We agree about the important point so we can argue about semantics for fun.

If the object in question subject to harvesting or breeding for profit belongs to the Plant Kingdom then it is a crop. Essentially all plants are crops once someone figures out how to make money from cultivating or collecting them. That even includes trees and algae.

If the object in question belongs to the Animal Kingdom then it is livestock, and subject to butchering breeding and by product, such as milk or wool, collection. Julia is unquestionably an animal, all obvious jokes aside, whose life exists on the suffrage of other humans and who is maintained to provide offspring and products in the form of taxes and votes. She therefor can be considered livestock. Human livestock are called slaves.

Living objects from other Kingdoms, viruses, fungi and bacteria, may be raised for human use. Some may be called crops but there is no accepted term for all cases outside the laboratory that I know of.

Ninety five years ago tomorrow on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the guns fell silent. Wear a poppy. Lest we forget.

Speaking of old Civil Defense technology and facilities we abandoned. We had Armories in every community. We sold them off, often after 9-11. Has outright treasonous theft ever been more brazen?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Julia would only have to worry if she displeased her local Democratic Party Boss.

Julia is technically speaking a slave.

Old technology works. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNSb-pfC3nE

The Filipino people need to learn to monetarize their skills in social networking and disaster response. Israel has also developed a robust capacity, which they share with the world, in search and rescue.

What other knowledge is available for resurrection? The transition from WW-II through the Cold War to civilian needs was prepared and then largely abandoned. Vast sums were expended on Civil Defense. Shelters were built and stocked. Studies were prepared on how to prepare and how to respond. In the US and other countries everything was in place.

We are now less prepared then we were. Why? Despite the media outcry to attack Bush over Katrina and despite 9-11 and despite the creation of Emergency Management Departments and graduate programs we are not only vulnerable but arguably more vulnerable then we were a half century ago.

It may be because the social basis has eroded as wretchard describes. That could be one symptom of a general problem. The Left is jealous and will tolerate no competition. For all their talk of communities and social goods they fear Civil Society as a rival to the state and seek to destroy it. Within the government they divert resources from the military and police and fire, traditional patriarchal organizations, to subsidize other constituencies. As long as they have enough police on their side to arrest their enemies they need nothing else.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (66)
All Comments   (66)
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Wretchard, a friend asked why Tacloban wasn't evacuated, and why the people, once they heard the news, didn't just start walking inland in search of highter ground. Do you know?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not wanting to step on wrechard's toes but...

Few people who haven't experienced it can really wrap their heads around how catastrophic a category 4-5 storm can be. It's one of those things that defies common logic.

I mean sit on the roof of a three story building that is blocks inland from a sea that is *always* calm and try to imagine that six hours hence the first two floors will be under water and there will be 15-20 foot waves on top of *that*.

Imagine it raining salt water. Imagine wind gusts that are so strong that the pressure fluctuations caused by their passage sucks septic muck up out of the toilets and your ears pop painfully. Imagine common glass bending impossibly before exploding either inwardly or out; depending on the whims of the wind that seems to posses a life of it's own. Imagine watching your roof spin off into the darkness even as other homes give up and just roll away like tumbleweeds. Imagine bearing hour upon hour of the sound of a million harmonic screams punctuated by the staccato bangs of countless pieces of formerly intact somethings as they machine gun the walls of your home - cracking and smashing the concrete block walls in fury. Imagine watching cars dance and fly away never to be seen again. Imagine rain that hurts, and bits of dirt that streak across the glossy paint of cars so fast they leave friction burns, or beachside things that have been sandblasted clean. Imagine other structures and pieces of same that have managed to remain upright, painted green with the pulp of foliage that seems to have been sprayed on. Imagine coconuts buried in the ground like meteorites where you can tell the direction they came from by the tail they gouged out of the earth. Imagine every leaf on every tree as far as the eye can see...gone as if burned away by a great conflagration - leaving behind a billion angry homeless bugs. Imagine standing on the beach amidst the splinters and shattered wood after a sustained naval bombardment by a thousand big guns.

That's a category 4 with 1 minute average wind gusts that were only slightly higher than Yolanda's *sustained* winds.

On an island there is nowhere to run off to.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unfortunately, it appears that the social network failed to provide the right support in Tacloban (and probably nearby coastal towns not yet heard from). While many fled to higher ground, they apparently left behind family members to protect the property from looters. Also, from the casualties (many children), it is clear that too many families did not go to higher ground, even though the forecasts accurately predicted the storm surge that killed so many.

News reports focus on the winds, which can be survived even in relatively light-weight structures. It is the storm surge that kills - it resembles a tsunami in its relentnessness and depth.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I sure hope the "restive" Philippine muslims don't start shooting down aid planes, killing unarmed aid workers and sinking ships carrying food and medical supplies.

They must be itching to crow about "winning" another "battle," since the last "war" they won was killing soldiers that were trying to protect food convoys for the starving masses, in their big "victory" in the Battle of Mogadishu.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Julia will be administratively (but not uterinely) fixed re: obamacare. This will immediately reduce the tar and feathers. But the three stooges of the apocalypse will find out it will compound their programming issue.

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch. I sucks for these of us in the genx/y demographic but eventually maybe we will realize that big enough to do everything relationships should is also too big too fail, unspectacularly.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
In regards to our previous post:

‘Israel will attack Iran if you sign the deal, French MP told Fabius’
http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-will-attack-if-you-sign-the-deal-french-mp-told-fabius/

What kind of alternate universe did I end up in, where the French are the ones holding the line and who are making the most sense?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not hard to make more sense than John F. Kerry.

But if there's any truth to this rumor, I'd say Israel would be planning a nuclear attack. The question is can Israel avoid executing a nuclear first strike against Iran while Obambus and Jarrett are scheduled to be occupying the white house for another three years?

And if Israel is now on a hair-trigger nuclear standing, do they have some agreement with Saudi Arabia on this? And maybe some others? Something to wonder about ...
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, one wouldn't want to be as ruthless as Jenjis Khan.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
By the way, Tacloban was the site of an obscure but interesting incident in WWII.

The Army was there preparing the first beachhead airfield for USAAF aircraft when Taffy 3 found itself engaged by the pride of the IJN. Their jeep carriers under attack, many of the Taffy 3 aircraft could not land. So they sat down on the new Tacloban airfield.

An Army officer came up and ordered the Navy aircraft to depart. There was no room for them there and USAAF P-38’s were due in later that same day. After some argument, a Navy guy commandeered a jeep with a .30 cal machine gun and held the Army officer at gunpoint to explain to him the gravity of the situation. Then, as Taffy 3’s Wildcats, SBD’s, and Avengers continued to land, the Navy and USAAF people started looking for fuel and ammo with which to rearm them. There were crates of supplies and drums of fuel all over the place, and the men found bombs, rockets, fuel, and ammo and began relaunching the Taffy 3 aircraft to put them back in the fight.

To the IJN it seemed that the Americans were nowhere near to running out of aircraft. They just kept coming. That led them to conclude that it was Halsey’s big carriers launching the attacks and that they had better get out while the getting was good. They abandoned their attempt to attack the beachhead.

Not long after, the P-38’s did arrive at Tacloban. And in one of those cockpits was Dick Bong.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nice historical rendition. Thanks.

Taffy 3 and the battle at Leyte Gulf will forever live in honor in naval history. That battle is the ultimate example of "why you play the game". Out gunned, out numbered, out classed in every way, those destroyers and DE's of Taffy 3 changed the course and length of the war (while bailing out Halsey). Commander Evans of the Johnston epitomized a heroic Commanding Officer of fighting US Navy ship. I'd toss my oak leafs in the trash; though I wore the same rank, I was nothing compared to this fine officer. So many good and heroic men were lost in my father's war. The actions of Taffy 3 were amazing - just breath taking.

Salute!
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, not a more stirring sea tale has ever been written, fact or fiction.

But on the other hand, I believe it was Taffy 4 whose commander sent a couple of his destroyers to have a look at Taffy 3's situation and report back - but not to engage.

When the two Taffy 4 ships showed up, Taffy 3 said, "Thank God you're here! We need help!" But the two ships merely noted the situation and went back to Taffy 4.

I am afraid that if I would have been the captain of one of those destroyers, I would have announced to my crew, "Taffy 3 is under heavy attack. We have been ordered not to engage. And they may well remove me from command and send me home in disgrace, but first we're going to bag ourselves a Jap cruiser! Set up a torpedo attack!"
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think Taffy 4 was tasked directly with protecting the Jeep Carriers, which could put out something like 450 planes combined. Their commanders probably did the right thing. If nothing else, and the Japanese and cut through Taffy 3 and continued, the carriers would probably be fleeing in three directions with Taffy 4 covering their retreat.

It was a tough day to be a Tin Can sailor, regardless. Heroism, all around. It just happened to be CDR Evans date with destiny, his day to order his men to give their all, and lay down his own life, for the rest of the fleet. No one can predict what they would do in similar circumstances. Guys can in fact be cowards one day and heroes the next. Sometimes, it's just the luck of the draw.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". John 15:13

It can't be planned, predicted, or scripted; it can only be lived in that moment by the men upon who fate calls.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
OldSalt - The PI doesn't necessarily need to buy ROROs if they can borrow them. We're supposed to be pivoting to the Pacific, so why not pre-position some capability in the PIs, such as at Subic Bay?

But a major lesson from both WW II and Fukushima is that when you get this kind of tidal surge event, harbor clearance has to be Job #1. To move tonnage, you want to ship by water.

Read Navy supervisor of Salvage Faceplate

Haiti -

http://www.supsalv.org/pdf/OCT_2010_%20FACEPLATE.pdf


Operation Tomodachi -

http://www.supsalv.org/pdf/Faceplate_March%202012.pdf pg 14-17

Without a usable harbor lightering is an effective option. Hence using LASH.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
here are a couple more designs for hurricane houses.
bit.ly/19bTebv
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
BTW wretchard,
Looking at the caption for the second image above, where are my royalties?

Is there a lawyer in the house? Where is the Justice? Think of the children, or something.

I have lived in worse.
/sarc off
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
JFSanders,
We agree about the important point so we can argue about semantics for fun.

If the object in question subject to harvesting or breeding for profit belongs to the Plant Kingdom then it is a crop. Essentially all plants are crops once someone figures out how to make money from cultivating or collecting them. That even includes trees and algae.

If the object in question belongs to the Animal Kingdom then it is livestock, and subject to butchering breeding and by product, such as milk or wool, collection. Julia is unquestionably an animal, all obvious jokes aside, whose life exists on the suffrage of other humans and who is maintained to provide offspring and products in the form of taxes and votes. She therefor can be considered livestock. Human livestock are called slaves.

Living objects from other Kingdoms, viruses, fungi and bacteria, may be raised for human use. Some may be called crops but there is no accepted term for all cases outside the laboratory that I know of.

Ninety five years ago tomorrow on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the guns fell silent. Wear a poppy. Lest we forget.

Speaking of old Civil Defense technology and facilities we abandoned. We had Armories in every community. We sold them off, often after 9-11. Has outright treasonous theft ever been more brazen?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nope, she can't be an animal as an animal will not willingly submit to control as a plant does. No fence the animal will leave. She may be more correctly termed a farmed parasite with a symbiotic relationship to Marxists and other totalitarians.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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