With another powerful, but erratic typhoon expected to unleash its fury in practically the same areas where Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) made landfalls in Central Visayas in the Philippines last year, the warnings, advises, preparations and other government directives relative to safety and prevention of casualties have been observed to be no longer wanting.
The devastating and deadly events in the aftermath of the most powerful storm ever recorded on land that killed or left missing more than 7,350 people in November last year has not only taught us all a lesson, but it has also raised the bar of awareness and preparedness for Filipinos who go through an average of 20 major storms a year, many of them deadly.
While more and more people now are cognizant of the likely path Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit, Filipino word for lash) will take as it hits the country and already familiar with such words describing the typhoon, like, ‘sustained winds’ and ‘wind gusts’ intensities, ‘storm radius’, and, most of all, the tsunami-like effect of a ‘storm surge’, enough to make their moves sooner than later, what remains to be wanting, in truth and in reality, are the immediate responses of the local government units (LGUs) and the national government towards the victim’s plight.
Nothing can stop the impending onslaught of Ruby, but the question foremost in everybody’s mind is: Are the people in badly hit places in Samar and Leyte, specifically in Tacloban, and those still living in tent houses, ready for another monstrous typhoon that is swirling with severe winds and intense rain that is even engulfing parts of Luzon?
Lucky are those residents who can afford to stay in hotels for the duration of the typhoon, thus, making the rooms scarce for guests in Tacloban. There are even reports that wealthier families are checking in, in hospitals to have better accommodation and be in safe location, at the expense of the sick needing confinement badly.
But, what I am just saying here is that as government officials, both local and national, strive to raise the bar of awareness and preparedness of people in times of natural calamities to mitigate, if not prevent loses in lives and properties, it is also hoped that the same officials will step up in extending help and assistance in any way, shape and form for the victims so that those affected can immediately recover or get back with their lives, before another disaster knocks them down again.
That is what government and governance is all about, especially in times of calamity. It should bring politicians and public officials the best in them regardless of political persuasion in order to make relief operations and recovery, later, more effective. Sad to say politics continues to rear its scandalous head even in adversity affecting the greater number of people, especially the poor amongst us.
Alas, so much has still to be done from Yolanda’s devastating impact in 2013, which according to those concerned in rebuilding and rehabilitation will take until 2016, when Aquino’s presidency ends.
With so many typhoons striking us yearly, one can only wonder if there will ever be an end to government’s reconstruction efforts at the rate it is going.