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Monday, July 28, 2014
WE MIGHT consider ourselves in the province lucky for we were considerably spared from the recent howler Glenda. Perhaps our preparedness and resiliency to calamities has paved way, despite the fact that Glenda is merely a “taste test” of what might be the scenario when the typhoon season reaches its peak.
For the record, a lot of towns in the Southern Tagalog region remain in darkness due to cut power lines and toppled electric poles. Restoration works is still underway with other electric companies extending their help.
Quezon province and its neighboring Bicol region were badly hit by the fierce winds and incessant rains brought by Glenda. Bicol’s disaster preparedness never spared the peninsula as it was battered by the typhoon.
There were some landslides that were experienced in the southern provinces taking the lives of some residents with their hovels washed away by mud.
I recalled the Mt. Arayat landslide incident in 2009 where a number of residents at the foot of the mountain where killed. The victims were eaten by cascading mud while their houses were flattened by big boulders coming from their top.
With the incident, people and the government have learned their lesson, thus during the preparations for Glenda, the municipal government of Arayat town evacuated the residents who were still living at the slopes of the mountain.
Incidentally, an ordinance has been enacted by the provincial board that prescribes guidelines on forced evacuation by local government units to their constituencies and imposing certain penalties for violations of such.
The ordinance was in time for the rainy season and before the onslaught of Glenda, which happens to be the strongest typhoon to hit the country so far.
Pampanga has its coastal towns and it’s traversed by several rivers and other tributaries. These water channels are usually filled with floodwater during the rainy season.
The problem with these waterways is the fact that there are residents living on the banks of these rivers. When water over flows, some of these people are inundated or sometimes washed away by the water’s current.
As residents of the province, we are considered “veterans” when it comes to experiencing disasters. Our experience with the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo can never be forgotten as the tragedy sometimes flashes back to our minds.
Many years after the said volcano erupted, there are still the scars of the past especially to those who lost their loved ones and their houses too. Lahar flows never stopped until several years after the eruption.
With the onslaught of Glenda, we can say that many of the country’s provinces have prepared for the deluge. Sadly, despite the preparations, the typhoon has claimed more than a hundred lives and damaged millions worth of crops and other agricultural products.
The statistics perhaps has been increased if many lacked the preparedness and anticipation for the havoc of Glenda.
While we are still on the wet months, we must perhaps continue to be prepared for any eventuality caused by weather disturbances. No matter how they shall be forecasted, it is imperative to be on guard to all these.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 29, 2014.