Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Storm of Storms

Just like any other Filipino, I have had my own share of storms (of different intensities), earthquakes, extreme droughts (El-Nino) and practically every kind of unstable and unpredictable weather and natural disasters.

The recent storm however was historically unprecedented that caught everyone flatfooted. I guess if it were another country, there wouldn't  really be any way to prepare and minimize this kind of devastation that we have experienced.

Regardless of the technological advancements in terms of early-warning systems, weather instruments and the like, a storm of this magnitude may be predicted but the destruction that will ensue is inevitable.

Supertyphoon Haiyan taken by the NEXSAT satellite provided by the U.S. Naval Research Lab
http://weather.aol.com/2013/11/07/super-typhoon-aims-for-philippines-thousands-flee/

Yet, through local and foreign journalists, the world has seen the resilience and the indomitable spirit of the Filipinos making do with whatever can be salvaged in the once flourishing provinces of Samar and Leyte.

In the middle of the chaos, there were equally negative incidents like looting due to the delay of relief goods, which in turn was brought about by the inaccessibility of roads leading to the affected areas. 

It's very heartwarming and I'm literally lost for words because of the tremendous response and outpouring of aid from the international community.

Japan has recently experienced an immense tsunami that brought about a nuclear disaster and they have recovered from it despite the insurmountable odds, so there's no reason why the Philippines cannot do the same - there is no way but up, especially if you have hit rock-bottom.

It seems the ugly head of Climate change has already revealed itself and whether every citizen of every country and the world leaders deny it or spend so much time pointing fingers who should reduce carbon emissions first, we will all experience terrible storms because of an unstable climate system.

Tacloban, Leyte - before and after the storm
Living in a an island nation like ours, it is virtually impossible to displace residents of whole provinces separated by seas and oceans. The logistics and manpower is not enough to pull this off. Nevertheless, the local governments of Leyte and Samar as well as the neighboring provinces have done their best to provide the necessary warnings and reminders and evacuation plans have already been in place days before the storm hit.

However, the magnitude of the storm is too much for us and we could only wait, watch and hope for the best that the destruction and casualties would be at a minimum.

The aftermath was both shocking and dismal and despite the chaos, total destruction and rubble left by the super storm, Filipinos still managed to smile:




A ray of hope looms in the horizon as we get back on our feet the way Filipinos do it best and the way we have been doing so since the Spanish colonization and eventual independence in 1898, the 7.8 magnitude Luzon earthquake in 1996, the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 and immense floods caused by Typhoon Ondoy (International name: Typhoon Ketsana) in 2009 and all the other disasters that we have experienced and survived.




A CNN reporter's view aptly sums up my point:



 In behalf of all the Filipinos, thank you world for your compassion and selflessness.

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