Don’t blame God, blame people-A A +A
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
WHEN Metro Manila, especially in the Marikina area, got flooded in 2009 in the wake of typhoon Ondoy, the only consolation was that it happened during day time. When people saw the waters rise to unusual levels, they were alerted and agencies put in place rescue preparations.
Screen idol Richard Gutierrez used a speedboat at that time to rescue actress Cristine Reyes, who was trapped on the rooftop of her house in a posh subdivision in Marikina.
Richard could not have had the time to rescue Cristine had the flood struck at night.
And there would have been no “The Other Woman” movie had she vanished in that tragedy. The death toll was estimated at more than 400 people.
But what happened in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and in some parts of Negros Oriental was different. Floods spawned by typhoon Sendong hit Saturday dawn when everybody was asleep. When they woke up, waters were already all over their neighborhood. It was too late for them to evacuate.
Those who lived in houses with more than one floor luckily survived by climbing to their rooftop. But those who lived in small houses near the riverbanks were washed away by the strong current into the sea.
Disaster officials estimated the death toll to reach as high as 700. The number of missing people is estimated to reach almost a thousand. If I am not mistaken, this is the wor st disaster to hit Mindanao since a tsunami caused by an earthquake hit the coastal areas of Zamboanga del Sur peninsula in the late ‘70s, sweeping away thousand of houses and residents.
What caused the floods? Sendong did not carry strong winds but, like Ondoy, carried rains that caused rivers in the affected areas to overflow. Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities have big rivers that are reportedly connected to those in nearby provinces like Bukidnon and even the Agusan provinces.
I am from Mindanao and from what I learned, it is seldom that these provinces are hit by typhoons except Surigao, which is typhoon-prone. I think that logging and mining operations in some parts of Mindanao are the main culprits in this calamity.
Mindanao has abundant of natural resources, including vast timber lands and mining sites, especially in the Agusan and Surigao provinces. There are legal logging and mining operations but just the same these still destroy our environment.
There are two types of calamities. One is natural like typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis. Another is man-made, like fire, nuclear explosion, etc. But natural calamities are worsened by man's lack of concern for the environment. That was what happened to the flood-affected areas. We never learned our lesson.
Though this is a natural calamity, don't blame God for it. Blame people.
GMA 7 Cebu Kapuso Foundation is accepting donations, in cash or in kind, for the flood victims in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities. We already sent partial shipment to the victims in Negros Oriental the other day. GMA 7 Kapuso Foundation was the first foundation to respond to the needs of the victims there.
You can send your donations direct to GMA 7/dySS Super Radyo Broadcast Complex at Nivel Hills, Apas or to our drop-in centers in front of Cebu City Hall. Don't give your donations to just anybody. Once we receive the donations, especially if these are in cash, we cover them with proper receipt.
This effort is supported by Gothong Southern Shipping Lines through William Acosta and George and Peter Lines through Eddie Lozada. Thank you in advance for your help.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 21, 2011.