Typhoon ‘Ondoy’ struck the northern part of the Philippines and flooded most of the Metro Manila areas. Rainfall that didn’t fall for six months poured in just a matter of six hours causing loss of lives and devastation in the hard hit areas.
The initial death toll was at 73, and still rising as more and more bodies are pulled out from flooded regions. There’s countless number of victims who are still missing; and displaced families ran in thousands.
Is the country and its disaster preparedness agency ready enough to tackle the huge task of helping all who are directly affected by the tragedy? It might have been too much but the president promised that ‘it didn’t break’ the resolve of the nation.
It’s too early to tell because as I write this blog there’s a good portion of the region that is still under water and has no electricity and probably has no water resource safe enough for human consumption.
This is not the first time that heavy torrential rains brought about by a typhoon has drenched the countryside and flooded the region. In fact the number of casualties doesn’t even come as a surprise at all. Landslides and flooding have already claimed a many lives in the past.
In all these, the Filipino nation of course is uniting to help out those who are in dire need. Overseas workers are even extending support thru a relief drive. The global community is also helping through the Red Cross.
Was there anything that could have been done to lessen the damage of this recent disaster? Who knows? I’m sure the poorest of the poor who are probably among the casualties would have no choice but to live in uninhabitable areas, building shanties made of cardboard boxes, a makeshift of a floating abode with a luxurious view of the bay, yet was in all sense is and was a tragedy waiting to happen.
It was not uncommon to build a tent on top of a slightly covered sewer system and call it home. And when the downpour ravaged the land, these people had nowhere to run to seek refuge or at least stay out of harm’s way as the threat of the typhoon looms.
That’s the biggest tragedy! These people would have easily awashed with just the rising of the tide because they were in a place where they weren’t supposed to be.
Time and time again, tragedies have occurred in this poverty-stricken country and it’s always the poor who suffered. Did the leaders learn their lesson?
I doubt it. This is not the first time that the nation is bruised and left helpless with a tragic event, and certainly, this will not be the last. The country’s leaders need to be proactive to the obvious need of the poor, if things have to change. Until then, I, being a Filipino feel that I can only watch in horror as tragic events like this unfold.
On the lighter side, I believe that pain and suffering are the common strands that bind all of humanity. We all at some point in our lifetime have to deal with pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering makes us more humane every time, if only we see the silver lining.
For anyone who wishes to help, you can contact the International Red Cross hotline.