Lessons from Yolanda
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 was quite embarrassing, not only to our President, but also to all of us Filipinos, to hear the indictment from international media entities about our shortcomings in dealing with the catastrophe that was Supertyphoon Yolanda.
Some reporters, particularly from the Cable News Network, or CNN, have not minced words in slamming the situation, particularly the leadership of the country for what they saw as a lack of adequate responses as well as preparation.
In the condition we are in now, it will not do any good to argue with them since, we too, had hoped that assistance, if not solutions, could have been mustered faster and sooner. As it is, we also hear reports about some places as severely affected as, say, Tacloban, that had not yet been reached by any form of assistance or attention even after days had passed.
However, we have been in this country long enough to know that we still have many puroks and barangays and even towns in areas that may be called hinterlands, which are difficult to reach even during normal times. With the condition of our roads and highways, and the destruction of transportation and communication facilities, there actually was no way that aid could be delivered to them instantly.
It is true that ample warnings had been sent out about the power of the expected typhoons, but never in our wildest dreams, and in those of our officials, probably, had it occurred that it would be so devastating. Strong winds had been predicted, but our people did not know what the sudden “storm surges” could be capable of. And they were what had wrought the worst havoc on our people and their homes and livelihood.
Now that it is over, we must accept and prepare for the fact that there will be more typhoons and calamities to be expected, located as our country is in their paths. From Yolanda, therefore, let us learn the lesson of preparedness for the worst, and the wisdom to flee while there is a chance to do so.*