Editorial: Gustiness of Ruping and rainfall of Sendong

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012


WE WAIT in trepidation, watching the Philippine flag of the neighboring Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ride the unusually steady breeze. The trees are not bending with the wind yet, only the branches and leaves are moving. Typhoon Pablo is not yet felt, except for the stead fluttering of the Philippine flag.

It’s cloudy but not dark. Just pleasantly overcast, making it easy to weak under the sun at noon. Let us not be lulled into complacency.

We have to take the warnings seriously and not scoff at those who are saying that Pablo is huge.

“Its gustiness is similar to Typhoon Ruping while its rainfall will be equal to that of Tropical Storm Sendong,” said Minda Morante, director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Central Visayas, in a news report from Sun.Star Cebu.

We know Sendong (typhoon Washi), it was the typhoon that brought long hours of rain and then wiped out residential subdivisions and settlements in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities in December 2011.

But when did Ruping happen and what gustiness are you talking ahout?

Imagine this, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council placed the total damage to properties caused by Sendong in Regions 4-B, 5, 10 and Caraga at P2.068 billion.

Just for scale, Ondoy’s damage to properties in 2009 was estimated at P11 billion. Typhoon Ruping, which hit the less populated island masses of Dinagat Island; Southern Leyte; Mactan Island, Cebu City and the rest of Central Cebu Island; San Carlos City, D.S. Benedicto, Murcia and Bacolod City in Negros Occidental; Northern Guimaras; Iloilo City and the Southwestern Iloilo Prov.; Hamtic and San Jose de Buenavista, Antique; Northern part of Cuyo Islands; Linapacan Strait, and Northern Palawan in November 1990 and caused an estimated damage of P10.846 billion.

Almost two decades apart and hitting an area that is not as urbanized as the Metro Manila (except for Cebu of course, which is but a dot compared to Metro Manila), Ruping already racked up the damage toll at P10.846 billion.

Put Sendong and Ruping together, and you get major disaster waiting to happen. All we can do as citizens is just strive to reduce it.

Do not go where you are not allowed to go – out to sea, up those landslide-prone mountains, and down those flood-prone floodplains. Clear the way for the search and rescue teams, do not pester them nor cause them unnecessary delays and work. In short, stay out of harm’s way.

We should ensure that our house can withstand the rainfall or gustiness, and we should keep our ears and eyes to all the available warning systems in place. Just don’t panic.

We can never give enough warnings; we can never run out of advices. We know that the worst typhoons happen toward the end of the year and the start of the New Year, and all warning systems are saying that this could be the biggest one yet.

By the way, this has nothing to do with the Reproductive Health Bill. Let us not muddle the issues, dear bishops and priests and devout Catholics. Had it been, then all other religions, congregations, and sects would have long drowned, as you are trying to imply.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 04, 2012.

Opinion

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