x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Fast response is vital to save lives in natural disasters

The smaller amount of damage than expected from Typhoon Megi reflects well on the preparations of the Philippine government to provide emergency assistance.

Fishermen take stock of their vessels in the wake of Typhoon Megi. While the storm caused major damage in the Asia Pacific region, one reader argues it could have been worse without adequate preparation
Fishermen take stock of their vessels in the wake of Typhoon Megi. While the storm caused major damage in the Asia Pacific region, one reader argues it could have been worse without adequate preparation

The front-page picture on The National (October 24) shows Typhoon Megi making landfall in China. It is truly an impressive storm that has already caused a lot of damage in the Philippines, as well as dozens of deaths.

This has been a tragedy, but there has been a silver lining. Megi was called a "super typhoon" when it was approaching the Philippine coast and many feared that the damage would be far worse than it was. Last year, more than 100 were killed by a smaller storm.

The lesser damage reflects well on the preparations of the Philippine government to provide emergency assistance. Earlier this year the president Benigno Aquino punished officials at the weather bureau for their failures to respond to earlier storms, and it seems that message was heard loud and clear.

In many natural disasters, the level of preparation, or lack thereof, is often the deciding factor - just look at the devastation from the Haitian earthquake, which measured 7 on the Richter scale. That killed hundreds of thousands, while the more developed country of Chile weathered an 8.8 quake that killed fewer than 1,000.

Governments should be held to account, and congratulated when appropriate, for their safety preparations in the face of natural disasters.

Coen Thornton, Abu Dhabi

National coverage a boon to region

I extend my tribute to the management and staff members of The National on producing an informative newspaper based on investigative journalism.

I read various newspapers daily and all are based on traditional news. But when I read The National, my mind is changed abruptly by knowing the core issues of the region. Your local stories are always based on discoveries that reflect the real picture of society.

When it comes to the regional stories of your talented correspondents, these are excellent. Your correspondents touch topics in countries that are generally ignored by conventional news agencies.

I would like to say you should stick to local, regional and Asia problems. That is not only to provide good news to the people but also to cope with the prejudice that our local media have for the West.

Jehan, Sharjah

United is not a model club

Manchester United football is not exactly the best in Europe, as English clubs are known for their thuggish and long-ball play. Do UAE youngsters want to copy the "kick and rush" that England football is based upon? Why not try Spanish football instead, which is the best in Europe?

How sad it is to be influenced by tabloid media: David Beckham is a mediocre player, despite being one of the most popular UK players. He's slow and cannot dribble but his antics off the field have brainwashed even people in the UAE.

LD, Abu Dhabi

Peace is but a media show

In reference to the article New surge in Israeli settlement building (October 22): how long will Arabs believe that Israel and the greater western powers are sincere about world peace? They could not care less.

Much of the handshakes and smiles are for the benefit of the media and public consumption. There is a proven track record of American and European countries taking an apologetic approach when it comes to the actions of Israel. Every time a crime is committed, Israel's western allies are there to support the act. And this is so-called western liberal democracy in action.

Davud Burns, UK

Marriage is a give and take process

In reference to Rym Ghazal's opinion article Why is marriage and love these days just a roll of the dice? (October 21): I think communication is a big part of a successful marriage.

Being able to tell your husband what you need (both physically and emotionally), in a way that makes him feel like fulfilling your needs will make him more of a man, rather than less.

Also, there is the religious factor: any true Muslim will take pride in how well he treats his wife, because that's the lesson taught by the Prophet.

With hubby and me, it's very much give and take. I receive foot massages, and I also give them. Neither one of us feels like it's something degrading. Showing affection and gestures of tenderness is much easier if you get them back too.

A game targeting a couple is certainly a good start - a playful way to introduce some, perhaps unfamiliar, gestures into a marriage that might not be very expressive normally. I think it's a positive idea. It won't fix marriage problems on their own, but it might let the ice melt. And that is a good first step.

Nadia Naji, Abu Dhabi