Calibrating emotions

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By Stella A. Estremera

Spider’s web

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


A YEAR ago yesterday, hundreds of Cebuanos ran all the way to their elevated areas far, far away from downtown Cebu, because of fear of a tsunami.

Imagine, leaving your office, running through R. Castillo Street in Agdao, and up the slopes along Mamay Road where people used to watch airplanes lang. For what? For a tsunami that just might hit Howland and Bak. I don’t know where that is. Go, Google it yourself.

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake shook the tiny Sta. Cruz Islands of the Solomon Islands out there in the South Pacific. As expected, the Pacific Tsunami Alert Center came out with warnings and watches.

Warnings are raised in areas that have the greatest likelihood of being hit by the tsunami generated, if ever such was generated. A watch is raised in areas where there just might be but it is not yet apparent.

Over-reaction is too mild a word to describe what followed.

During the first advisories, the Philippines was not part of the two lists.

Later in the afternoon, however, Philippines was listed under the Tsunami Watch list. People panicked, several called on their God, and can hardly concentrate on work. Needless panic, actually, because a tsunami watch is just a sort of a nudge to keep us aware that there lies the possibility. The recommended activity is to be updated through the alert center.

We live in a high-tech world, scientists can even approximate when the waves generated by the earthquake will hit your shores. In the last advisory (UTC 3:16) of the Pacific Tsunami Alert Center shortly before the warning and watch were cancelled it estimated tsunami waves arrival times for Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, Wallis and Futu, Marshall Island, Howland and Bak, Pohnpei, Tokelau, Samoa, Kermadec Island, New Zealand, American Samoa, Tonga, Australian, Niue, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Wake Island, Chuuk, Jarvis Island, Guam, Northern Marian, Palmyra Island, Yap, Johnston Island, Minamitorishima, and Belau.

Except for a few, which we know of from friends who live there or have actually visited, and a few more from the Miss Universe pageant, all the rest are places we did not even know exist.

Let’s calibrate our emotions and reserve our strength and preparedness for the one that will most likely hit us.

Again, we’re not saying we should be complacent. We’re just saying, use ours head that’re presumably still attached to our body, and the technology that is right within our reach.

We live in a world where information is right within our finger’s reach. Let’s use that to enhance our lives and not to send ourselves and our neighbors into fits of unnecessary anxiety. Don’t worry, at the rate that nature is wreaking havoc upon us, we will have our share. Once this happens, that is the time when we should use all our efforts and muscles to run to safer grounds; not when a tsunami will most likely hit the shores of Minamitorishima.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 07, 2013.

Opinion

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