Editorial: Expecting the unexpected

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

CEBU was warned of a possible storm surge on Tuesday, but a tornado struck instead, reads the lead of Sun.Star Cebu’s story on the tornado that hit barangays Tisa and Mambaling in Cebu City and damaged 38 houses, a barangay sports complex and several electric posts, and injured three residents.

Dabawenyos were getting uneasy Tuesday as tropical depression Domeng continued to hover several hundred kilometers away, stuck.

The expected rainfall, however, never fell and Dabawenyos are sweating it out under the sweltering sun.


Truly, even weather forecasts can no longer foresee what will actually hit us.

Truly, no amount of preparedness for a coming weather anomaly will be enough. Instead, the greater need is to more than just prepare when the warnings are up, and instead put in place mitigating and adaptation measures.


First start with the simple and most obvious ones: Get people out of high-risk areas and make sure no other person sneaks in and builds a home when no one is looking. Non-buildable areas should remain what they are: non-buildable. Proper zoning should be observed, and most of all building standards have to be followed, and innovative designs have to be developed.

We are entering times that are far different from anything in the past. Thus, we should not expect solutions from the past to be still fully applicable. Times dictate constant innovation and adaptation. Let us make sure that we as individuals, families, communities, and government are in step with the times. Especially for the local government… kick those engineers into shape for them to use all that they are supposed to have learned and put them into good use. And no, simpleton solutions like the idea of straightening up a river to avoid flashfloods proposed over three years ago belong to a simpleton’s mind and not an engineer. In this time and age, every solution has to put environment protection and natural laws at the forefront and not what we want to happen. We have for so long been trying to make nature conform to our whimsy, and have always reaped its wrath instead, over and over again.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 10, 2014.


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