The lesson is ‘Be prepared'
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
It will be some time before the victims of Typhoon Sendong in Mindanao, especially in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities, can recover from the tragedy that hit them during the weekend. This is also true of Dumaguete City, where the strong winds and heavy rains also caused damage, not only to residences and farms, but also to infrastructure.
As of the latest reports, about 340 were killed in Cagayan de Oro, and 206 in Iligan. In Negros Oriental, about 39 have also been reported dead from drowning or from being swept away by the floods. The number of those missing has not been fully determined yet, and fears have been expressed that most of those may also be dead already.
In Negros Oriental, hardest hit were Valencia, Sibulan and the capital, Dumaguete City, itself. Bridges have been weakened and closed to traffic, main roads were flooded, and some appeared to cave in.
To worsen the situation, power outages also occurred in the affected towns and cities. And, in Mindanao, the lack of potable water was seen among the major problems.
We cannot say, however, that all this came without warning, because even before the start of this year, there were already forecasts that 2011 will be plagued by several typhoons and depressions. And they did occur, practically one after the other, most of them taking their toll on human lives, crops and properties.
The recent calamities have shown that our people, especially our local government units, have already started learning how to cope. Note how swiftly aid comes to the victims, and how evacuation centers are pinpointed for such needs. But there is still much to be desired, and among these is the readiness of our people themselves for these eventualities, and their alertness to warnings about expected calamities and disasters.
The old Boy Scouts motto may be trite, but because of the vagaries of climate and earth movements nowadays, let us go back to the old bromide, which is: “BE PREPARED.”*