general, perspective

Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) was the strongest Typhoon on Earth

E                                         My post in facebook last November 07,2013.Pray for the Philippines. May God give our people more strength to recover and rebuild. May the next one coming be more gentle! Let us all pray together!

I am fascinated to see on TV those typhoon victims who are already rebuilding their houses, a day after the typhoon. No more time to cry, or mourn, or even question God for their current situation. All they want to do is to get back to their normal lives. God bless their indomitable spirit. So you know, those areas are mostly coastal towns and farmlands. Those people there do not have much concrete infrastructures and their homes are made of light materials. I cannot begin to imagine the damage there but from what I have seen  in the news…it doesn’t look good at all. Being a coastal town, these people live with the threat of storm and sea everyday. Whatever the technical name for it or its origin, they, even illiterate ones, are familiar with their environment enough to know the consequences. A lot of us are blaming lack of preparation, specially the President. But those in the affected areas have been prepared by generations upon generations of seasonally bad weather. In retrospect, the only sensible preparation for such a threat would have been to go to (much) higher ground. There was simply no ground high enough in the province of Leyte.

People from Tacloban (including the mayor) are victims. As such, exposed to tremendous amounts of stress, just like shell-shocked soldiers… They need help because it is already a disaster – meaning internak coping mechanisms can no longer address the emergency situation the typhoon did not discriminate. it hit the entire place and destroyed houses whether made of wood, concrete and losing your home and livelihood is one thing, but losing your loved ones is another. a lot of them have lost friends, relatives, neighbors, and even some have lost their entire families to the storm. it’s really sad considering that Christmas is just a month away

WATCH: Atom Araullo in Tacloban flood rescue | ABS-CBN News. More attention on the brave ABSCBN news team helping out flood victims.They were chest-deep in the water ferrying out kids! Watch the video!

Seeing TV Patrol  news  made me more realized  the amount of devastation and catastrophic destructions caused by typhoon Yolanda- Looting is so rampant in the disaster stricken areas. I understand the desperate need to get food, potable water and medicines . Looting result out of desperation, the absence of available evacuation centers and food, make my heart bleed for the lives lost and the survivors who are clinging on to their lives. It’s more disheartening to see the people are driven to, for lack of a better word, loot, because help’s been slow getting there. The people in these areas have lost literally everything (some, even, everyone) and have not had decent food or water for days. We can expect that for even more days after, they probably won’t have a steady source for many of their barest necessities.To be fair, my knee-jerk reaction to the news about it was to be disappointed – I think that’s natural. The feeling didn’t last long, how could it when I saw all that these people had to experience and what they’ll have to live with for a very long time (through the Television only)? They’re just reacting and surviving. To be honest I don’t think I’d do things any differently if I were in the same dilemma – by golly, I know I’d try (and I’m certain people did) but when survival is on the line, I’d do my best to live. Goes to show what the human instincts are in times of despair and catastrophe. We all live to survive.

How about looting TV sets and other electronic appliances?  I don’t really get why people had to get the appliances from the mall. I feel like they should be getting other stuff instead of the electric appliances. I wish people weren’t taking advantage of the chaos.  If the police/military are there to stop looting, then they can be there to be the ones to take the goods instead and distribute them–properly and evenly and therefore fairly–among the needy. You know what terrifies me? There will ALWAYS be justifications for such actions by saying “You weren’t there…you can’t possibly understand…who are you to judge…” People are quick to deny reports of rapes. But, in the aftermath of disasters like this, women and children are the most vulnerable and often, there is a rise of sexual violence against them.

This is a fact and has been observed in other disaster situations. This is because women and children often are not physically strong enough to fight the mob to get to relief goods and other necessities they need. Some thoughts about the aftermath of the typhoon signal number 4 or 5:  I realized that before we complain about the tiniest inconvenience we are experiencing take a moment to think about what the typhoon Yolanda victims are going through right now most especially if you’re just there, sitting on your comfy chair, checking your facebook news-feed. (social media accounts in general) I think it’s best if you move your ASS and DO SOMETHING even in your small way. Glad to see so many contacts at facebook and instagram posting ways on how you can help our brothers & sisters who lost so much. Times like this, there are no contributions that are too small. And frankly, there is no excuse to not help.

Are there also emotional relief efforts ongoing for the affected people, especially the children? Is there an organization that can do this? Set up tents where children can gather and provide them with creative activities to help them ease off this tragedy? Teach them to draw, tell them stories, teach them to build things. Is there still room for that in ongoing operations? I’m glad to see outpouring of relief materials – this is badly needed. Though maybe we can also complement it with emotional relief especially because when things start to become silent post-tragedy and all that’s left of them is to wait to rebuild, traumatic reflections can become a mind/spirit-killer..Is this logistically possible? Who can act on this?

If we already know that storms are going to get more intense, we should adapt with infrastructure and architecture designed to better withstand extreme weather condition right ? Typhoon proof (as typhoon proof as possible) and typhoon ready infra and buildings? Just wishful thinking. I’m not an architect, neither am I an urban planner but I feel if we don’t adapt, well be seeing the scene in the country  over and over again with the years to come. Take Japan as an example. Knowing that they experience constant earth quakes, they have adapted their infra and architecture accordingly. Emotional relief to this victim of this tragedy, I haven’t heard any organization doing it. You could always donate money you might have in ngo like sagip kamilya. and others. Hoping the Save the Children Philippines focus on children and disaster risk reduction in all its components such as rehabilitation and recovery are doing the mobilization

The list of signal number 4 storms of Rappler indicated a major storm almost every other year yet only in Marikina are there warning systems in place with clear pre -planned responses for the government to take and an informed public on what to do. It’s a failure of public officials. It’s still a wonder that there’s no outcry for the lack of infrastructure . Climate change adaptation and mitigation. Disaster risk reduction and management.

Look at how Albay responded from the 2006 super-typhoons. Takes a lot of political will. Albay province suffered much damage from the typhoon but has zero casualties. Listening to Dr. Mahar Lagmay on DZMM talk about Albay’s effectiveness in managing disaster: storm surge areas as per-identified and marked off with signage “This is a storm surge area.” Residents therefore know to stay away. Disaster education and communication is so important!he key is people knowing what a storm surge is -People living in coastal areas probably know it from experience but might use local terms. As disaster becomes the new normal, this is just one of the many phenomenon we will need an aligned understanding of. We’ll probably need stronger disaster education in the K-12 curriculum as well.

There are initiatives being done, but right now, there’s no unified, concerted effort. Albay responded after typhoon Reming, Marikina responded after typhoon Ondoy. I know it will take a lot of resources this infrastructure and architecture designed projects what I’m just saying it will save more in the longer term. Less lives lost. Less properties destroyed. Less rebuilding needed. I don’t know what actual solutions can be employed as I’m not an engineer, architect, or urban planner. I don’t know what it will cost. I don’t know how long it will take. I don’t know if there are innovations out there that are not as expensive as we think it is. But something has to be done else we’ll be seeing the same scene over and over. I’d be interested to know what architects, engineers, and urban planners would have to say. Changes have to be made, which will be more beneficial in the longer run, but the missing factor is political will—at local, national, and international levels.

Expect that this is going to be worse, given the scientific facts. Seas are getting warmer due to climate change, so statistically; we will experience much stronger typhoons than this. Thus, government investment on the science of weather control must be seriously considered. From the side of the society, it is also time to prepare more for it in the future. It is not good enough if we just rely on weathering storms if we cannot act on it proactively. Beyond volunteering and donating for relief operations, there is a need to do more- to help on-ground. To be able to, in the capacity with which we occupy in our careers and the wealth of knowledge we apply to our jobs, create more sustainable change for our countrymen. It gives me pause as I thank the Lord for the safety of my family and friends.Lord,Though my family is not directly affected on these tragic events, I can feel the cry of my fellow countrymen, especially the innocent children. Have mercy on all the victims of typhoon yolanda/haiyan and their loved ones. Let’s offer prayers and our masses to the victims of Yolanda, along with material contributions – prayer works miracles


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