Eid’l Adha and earthquakes-A A +A
By Nef Luczon
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
THE 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas region Tuesday also made an unpleasant morning here in some parts of Mindanao including Cagayan de Oro City, most especially that the whole Muslim community was celebrating Eid’l Adha, an Islamic holiday.
The next thing we would hear was a sad news of the death of a child due to stampede in Cebu and damaged buildings there. About 20 others were reported dead from other parts of Central Visayas according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) as of noontime Tuesday.
It’s always tragic and heart-breaking to hear children die. Just like what happened during the retrieval operations on the corpses of tropical storm “Sendong” victims where bodies covered in mud or decaying as their bodies were immersed in water for a longer time. Most of the victims were children, and perhaps one ended up locked in a toilet for a while, cried one’s heart out before returning to the newsroom.
Again, in natural calamities like storms and earthquakes, deaths can be avoided if only people will not forget that they have the capability to be calm and open minded -- cautious on the surroundings and stop panicking.
This amazing feat was shown by the Japanese on the recent 2011 earthquake that later caused a tsunami.
In the documentary shown in National Geographic where the producers gathered all amateur videos by the Japanese residents who documented the earthquake using their media devices like handheld video cameras, digital tablets and cellular phones. People had remained calm and patient amid the earthquake that was getting stronger the minute an aftershock followed.
They knew what to do; they just calmly gathered outside an open space and waited for the earthquake to stop. Some even recorded themselves while hiding under a table and later they looked for other people in the neighborhood soon as the earthquake ceased for a while and asked if everything was alright.
Although obviously some were a little concerned of what happened, but nevertheless they were not the type who easily ran outside the street without immediate course of actions to be safe. Of course, for a country where there are (mostly minor) earthquakes recorded every day, being ready all the time is the least the Japanese can do.
The Philippines is similar to Japan. Our country is also situated in a ring of fire, which means underneath the ocean volcanoes are lying dormant. So, it’s not much of a surprise if we experience earthquakes every year.
But what’s surprising is the reality that most of us are unaware of what to do when earthquake strikes.
We usually do actions that would cause more damage like a stampede because of panicking that could eventually lead to a child’s death or maybe an older people’s.
Why is it so? It seems we only remember safety rules during calamities when there are already casualties and reduction.
We have remained reactive and seldom have we become preemptive.
And again, we are reminded that the earth’s climate is fast changing for as long as humankind continue to thrive its surface and do as it pleases. We should not be surprised if we are experiencing natural calamities.
In fact, the government’s politics now should now be centered in climate change adaptation and risk reduction management which aims to strengthen measures for a quick action in times of disasters. So it’s not a surprise if we will hear some politicians parading for disaster preparedness as one of their main platforms in the next 2016 elections.
Most importantly the government should reconsider its additional budget for these efforts, but then again, the cloud of doubt is always there -- will it reach and benefit the people? Or will it be swallowed by a Napoles-like mechanism?
But yesterday was Eid’l Adha as well, a religious holiday in Islam where Muslims remember how Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham, and peace be upon him) was willing to sacrifice his son, Ishmail (in the Christian version it was Isaac), as a sign of complete submission to God.
This make us think sometimes that calamities like earthquakes are reminders not just to be physically and financially prepared, but perhaps spiritually as well.
(email@example.com | nefoi.blogspot.com)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 16, 2013.