AS I write this piece, the whole country is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Tropical Storm Maria (Typhoon Gardo). The super typhoon, which according to reports may be another Yolanda, now has maximum winds of 200 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 245 kph. Typhoon Gardo is not expected to make landfall in the Philippines, but the howler will enhance the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat.
During these times, one cannot be complacent. July is National Disaster Resilience Month and if only to serve as a reminder, the month practically ushers in the "beginning" of the typhoon season. Maybe we are lucky that "Gardo" will not be passing through the archipelago. The countries that he will be "meeting" will surely have their hands extremely full to minimize any injuries (hopefully no deaths) and damage to property and the environment. We expect more typhoons to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility
As we prepare, let us not wait for the strong rains to come before doing anything. With the sun peeping time and again during the day, let's start clearing debris from our canals and drains. A little housekeeping will do wonders. The gutters in the roof should be inspected and cleaned as well to allow rain water to flow where it should. Holes and breaks in the roof would need immediate patching and replacement, if need be. Stocking up on candles, matches and some canned food will be wise. Charging all flashlights, emergency lamps and the inspection and repairs of umbrellas and rain gear seems to be necessary.
Following the news and weather updates will come in very useful at it gives us time to prepare and better respond should their forecasts hit the bull's eye. It's a forecast so it is similar to a prediction which does not guarantee that it will happen 100 percent. Whether or not it does, what is important is we are prepared. Preparedness means readiness. Readiness is not only physically. We should be mentally and emotionally prepared as well.
The LGUs are at the forefront of disaster risk reduction. But the LGUs' efforts in preparing for and responding to emergencies will be for naught if we, the citizens, do not do our part. As mentioned above, simple housekeeping and cleaning in our individual homes and areas will go a long way.
Before the storm, ensure you do the following: check that loose items such as outdoor settings, umbrellas, etc. are safely secured; if it is safe to do so, check gutters, down pipes and drains are not blocked; park your vehicle under cover and away from trees.
During the storm, ensure you do the following: stay indoors and away from windows; if outdoors, shelter away from drains, gutters, creeks and waterways; be prepared for power outages; floodwater is dangerous – never drive, walk or ride through floodwater; floodwater may be toxic – never play or swim in floodwater.
After the storm, ensure you do the following: check your home and property for damage; keep clear of damaged buildings, power lines and trees; be aware of road hazards such as floodwater, debris and damaged roads or bridges and, do not drive through affected areas unless it is necessary.
“Despair is most often the offspring of ill-preparedness.” ~ Don Williams, Jr.
“We cannot stop natural disasters but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn’t have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness.” ~ Petra Nemcova
“Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program.” ~ Spencer W. Kimball, 1976
“Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy.” ~ Max Mayfield, Director National Hurricane Center
“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air...but only for one second without hope.” ~ Hal Lindsey
“The more you know, the less you have to carry. The less you know, the more you have to carry.” ~ Mors Kochanski
“There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” ~ Different Seasons, Stephen King
“A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” ~ Proverbs 27:12
“Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.” ~ Franz Kafka
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin