Luczon: Typhoon awareness month

DECEMBER may not be a good time to spoil most of the people’s holiday mood, but since we in the Philippines are now being visited by weather disturbances, we might as well make this month to observe and rekindle our vigilance to calamity preparations and surviving possible incoming storms.

Imagine this: since the start of this ‘10s decade, we went through natural calamities that claimed thousands of lives in the process. It’s six years since Sendong (Washi) in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities; five years since Pablo (Bopha) in Davao Oriental municipalities; and four years after Yolanda (Haiyan) in Eastern Visayas region. This has became a typhoon trilogy that we almost accepted a reality that every year supertyphoons are meant to visit us at least once every year, and usually within the months of November and December.

We are lucky enough that this year, the supertyphoon Urduja (Kai-tak) weakened over the weekend as it passed through the Visayas and Southern Luzon regions.

Imagine the extend of devastation had it not slowed down, as it entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility, places that was not even part of the storm’s Signal Number 1, have experienced heavy rains and strong winds, such as here in Cagayan de Oro City, and municipalities of the province of Misamis Oriental like in Balingasag that caused some flooding and impassable roads.

We live in a time when the old school of merry making in December should also be accompanied with cautious monitoring on our weather. The climate indeed already has changed, and we only did so little about it.

By making the month of December as an awareness month for typhoons every year, we could possibly be curbing the incidence of casualties over the time since we are about to make disaster risk preparedness a norm in our social fabric, that is, if only we can also be diligent to educate the people, especially so that some will hardly evacuate because it consumes more time and resources.

Not only that we will be reminded of the possible destruction caused by storms, and its economic implications, we can also get to learn or at least refresh our memories with issues that can be associated with disaster risk reduction literacy.

This can include a review and evaluation of our environmental situation, as well the status of how non-government organizations as well as government agencies have been implementing projects (or get the funding) that were supposed to aid the public towards disaster resiliency and environmental protection.

Observing December as “Typhoon Awareness Month,”may not necessarily be declared by the government (although, it can greatly help).

What is more important is that the aim is actively present in the minds of the people and that their self-awareness or consciousness on this matter may influence leaders and policymakers in the government and even non-government sectors to revisit existing disaster risk reduction management plans, and engage in further action-based researches to improve or even revolutionize these plans.

(nefluczon@gmail.com)
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