More than 500 people have died, hundreds more are missing and 100,000 or more are homeless after a typhoon hit the southern Philippines this week. An aid agency reported "hundreds of requests to help find … missing parents, children and relatives". It will be some time before casualty totals and financial losses can be tallied.
The news will create anxiety, or worse, for Filipinos in the UAE, as for the vast diaspora of their compatriots around the world, especially those from the northern part of Mindinao Island, where the storm struck.
Spread out though it is, the diaspora is at the heart of the life of the Philippines: a high proportion of the 101 million Filipinos, a hefty proportion of the country's whole labour force, live and work outside their homeland. Most send money home.
Their remittances bolter the country's economy and, has been seen time and again, the diaspora redoubles its efforts in time of need.
A dangerous climate compounds the problems of poverty; typhoons are no rarity in the Philippines, although this one made landfall farther south than most. As often seems to happen, countries that are too poor to build defences against nature's excesses become the worst victims.
Today the people of the UAE, with those of many other countries, offer condolences to the people of the Philippines wherever they may be.