PENG YINING REPORTER’S LOG Little creatures, big problems
It’s not a good idea to take a walk around the field hospital at night. The excess water brought by the typhoon has turned the farmland around the hospital into a swamp. The cracked sidewalks of the only passable road are littered with holes, some so deep that they are death traps. Snakes, toads and other mysterious creatures startled by my flashlight, slithered, hopped or scurried away around my feet.
Three dogs were sniffing around, digging for something in a pile of debris. They were close to the graves of two people who had died in the typhoon. Wooden crosses bearing their names — Amado Mayorga and Walter Castillon — had been stabbed into the soggy ground.
As I turned round, I discovered that I was the center of attention of least five stray dogs, their green eyes staring hard at the bag of bread in my hand.
Maybe I should have sneaked away quietly, but without thinking, I started to run and was tripped once, goodness knows what by, on the way back to my tent.
Equipped with electricity and running water, the tents were the safest places on land. They protected us from the larger dangers, but not the smaller ones, especially mosquitoes.
The disaster has left countless deep puddles and the humid weather has enabled the mosquitoes to breed insanely quickly. They buzzed around us like tiny bombers. You could easily kill a dozen or so by randomly clapping your hands above your head. Hiding safely inside a mosquito net, you could hear the annoying sound they made.
“We are fine sleeping in the nets, but if you touch the sides, the mosquitoes will bite you through the mesh,” said Liu Di, the head of the field hospital, who had been living in his tent for more than a week. “Their bites itch and swell up, but much worse, they transmit diseases. They’re only small creatures, but they’ve brought big problems for the people in the disaster area.”