Nalzaro: Preparing for a calamity

BASED on all available data and forecasts from various weather agencies like the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in Hawaii, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and our own Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), typhoon Ruby will definitely hit the country.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 230 kph, Ruby might make landfall tonight or early tomorrow morning in Borongan, Easten Samar.

It might hit some areas battered by super typhoon Yolanda last year, including the northern part of Cebu. As of this writing, public storm signal number 2 was hoisted in northern Cebu, including Camotes islands and in Cebu City.

So here we are threatened again by another calamity. Because of our sad experience with Yolanda, we have already learned our lessons. People are now responding to government's pre-emptive evacuation efforts. Those living in the islets in Bantayan have evacuated to the main island for their safety.

Local government units (LGUs) have mobilized their disaster response teams in anticipation of the storm. I hope their personnel are also equipped with emergency and

rescue equipment. Basin og mangyugpos lang sila kay walay ekipos.

We should not be complacent and take this typhoon for granted. To attain “zero casualty,” preparations should start within ourselves. According to Engr. Nathaniel “Mang Tanny” Cruz, GMA 7's in-house weather specialist, “I am ready.”

Those residing in the coastal areas should evacuate because of the possible occurrence of a storm surge or wind wave. Experts say that sea water levels might rise to five feet. Most of the fatalities of Yolanda, especially in Tacloban City, died because of the storm surge.

People living near rivers and in landslide-prone areas should evacuate. The government should implement forced evacuation for those who will not heed its call.

Big trees standing near houses should be trimmed or pruned. Anything that might cause harm should be kept away.

I was in JY Square in Lahug yesterday afternoon to buy some personal items. I observed an unusual increase of people in the grocery. I don't know if that was panic buying but most of them bought food stuffs like canned goods.

At least people are preparing for the worst. Stocking food is the most important thing to do during calamities. Avoid buying fresh food as these might not be cooked immediately when electricity and water supply are cut off.

While we appreciate government's response to calamities, we should also be vigilant because corrupt government officials might take advantage of the situation. They can do this through the purchase of rescue equipment or in buying medicines and food stuffs for the evacuees.

Do you think corrupt officials won’t ask for commissions and kickbacks from suppliers?

What about overpricing? Commission on Audit (COA) regulations are set aside in emergency cases.

Do you know that there are Cebu City officials who would clap their hands if calamities like fires happen? Why? Because they or their dummies are the ones supplying packed lunch to the fire victims.

A packed lunch worth P25 only contains one piece of chicken and a cup of rice. You know how much the city government through the Department of Social Welfare and Services paid for it? It was from P100 to P150 per pack. Their “return of investment” was more than triple.

Remember what happened to some foreign donations for Yolanda victims? The Department of social Welfare and Development (DSWD) became controversial because some donations were missing. Ang mga donations gikan sa Indonesia nga giputos nang daan, gi-repack unya nangawala na ang mga ketchup. Mao ni klase sa mga tawo nga mapahimuslanon.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

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