in October, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the Provinces of Bohol, Cebu and
several parts of Visayas. Hundreds of people died from the devastation and many
more were injured and displaced from their homes. The latest data from the National
Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) showed that at the very
least 671,103 families were affected and an estimated PhP2.257B of
infrastructure were damaged.
month has barely passed and another natural disaster struck the country,
particularly the Visayan region. Last weekend, the Philippines anticipated the
onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan); various
preparations were made—from evacuation centers, rescue operations and relief
distributions were already organized by different agencies. But almost all of
these were rendered vain by the massive damage Yolanda wrought in just a matter
of hours after its landfall.
The latest data from NDRRMC showed that the death toll is now 151, most of these
from the Provinces of Leyte and Eastern Samar. The figures are expected to rise
as relief and rescue operations continue. At least 9M people in 41 provinces
were affected by Yolanda, 630,000 of which are displaced and another 447,000
are staying in 1,645 evacuation centers. Communication lines and transportation
remain crippled in most of the affected areas. People have resulted “looting”—most
of them apologized and said that the typhoon had stripped them of their
dignity. The news had painted a dire situation in these parts of the country
and immediate action is needed.
the earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu, the following thoughts, which I
previously shared over Facebook, came to mind:
should be most prepared when disaster strikes. People completely depend on them
for their safety.
national government through its agencies should take this as a wakeup call. For
instance, DRRMOs are not mandatorily created by law, they are integral to
immediate rescue/disaster-related ops. Also, LCCAPs aren't maximized. Climate
change and DRR are two different things but they're related, I'd like to
we're serious on heritage site restoration, concerned stakeholders should step
up. For example, CBCP should finance the restoration of centuries-old churches
in the affected areas.
same thoughts still hover, except several more factors come into play.
should still be prepared when disaster strikes and we’ve seen that through several
preparations. But when disaster goes on a scale like this, the national
government should definitely take over. There is a need to really strengthen
our centralized efforts on relief and rescue operations, as well as maintaining
law and order in areas devastated by the surge of events. The decision whether
to declare martial law in the area or not should be carefully studied as it
will have serious implications to those that will be put under it. In simpler
terms, placing people under martial law means several rights will be curtailed.
It will be better if a state of emergency or calamity will be declared for now.
The news of “looting” and “anarchy” could still be managed if proper measures
will be placed. Resorting to rash decisions might just make the matters worse
for our afflicted fellowmen.
- It is
high time to make systemic changes on how government deals with climate change
mitigation/adaptation and disaster and risk reduction. These are two different
things, but they are very much related. The fact that various local governments
and national government agencies have procured relief and rescue equipments,
established their DRRM offices and their rescue teams and even designated
evacuation centers are already good steps. However, we should not stop with
this. We must continue educating individuals and their communities on how to
make their lifestyles more adaptive to climate change and our country’s
proximity to disasters. I am not well-versed on international agreements and
protocols on reducing carbon emissions and such, but we know well enough that
there is a need for a collective action on this matter.
may have an “indomitable” and “resilient” human spirit especially when faced
with disasters like these, but a lot of have Filipinos died already—Sendong,
Pablo, Ondoy, Reming and now, Yolanda. Wouldn’t it be better if that human
spirit was also used to prevent further catastrophic damages in the near future
because we made conscious efforts to prepare and take action on climate change?
We may not be able to completely stop typhoons, flash floods and earthquakes
from happening, but at the very least, we come prepared. Initial government,
non-government and community efforts were already made; we just have to
continue that stride towards a more adaptive archipelago.
those who would want to help the victims of Yolanda, you may direct it through
these efforts compiled by Rappler.
us continue to pray for our fellow people. And yes, let’s stop the bickering,
it does not add anything to help.
Labels: 2013, Filipino pride, giving back, Haiyan, lessons learned, mondays, ondoy, philippines, typhoon yolanda