Society and Politics

Typhoon ‘Pablo’ brings out the worst in Visayas and Mindanao

By Edelyn Cantillo, Staff Writer

This year, Filipinos suffered a lot of natural disasters but as expected, they still managed to get back up.

It was December 2 when the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned the country that Typhoon Pablo (international name Bapho) will affect parts of Visayas and Mindanao. But despite the repetitive warnings, preparations still missed.

According to Sen. Loren Legarda, these natural hazards and extreme weather events proved that the country is not prepared for these casualties and unveiled the vulnerability of some places in the country because of poverty and environmental deprivation.

“Typhoon Pablo unveils the vulnerability of affected communities to natural hazards and extreme weather events. This vulnerability is brought about mostly by poverty and environmental degradation, among other drivers of risk,” she said in her one of her interviews.

Unexpected Landfall

The affected regions, specifically in the Compostela Valley where many residents were killed by flash floods, did not expect the storm to be that strong. It left hundreds missing after mudslides wrecked the communities. Among the fatalities were soldiers responding to the storm.

Gov. Arturo Uy of Compostella Valley said that 33 people drowned in New Bataan unexpectedly.

“We never expected the waters to be that strong, the rescue team was only able to enter the area at 4:30 p.m.,” he said in his interview with GMA News TV last Wednesday, December 5.

The flooding in the city also reached higher areas of the barangays and even flowed through health centers that was supposed to be the evacuation center for the victims.

Worst Typhoon of the year

Typhoon Pablo proved to be the toughest storm of the year, much worse than last year’s Sendong. The death toll has reached more than a hundred with thousands still missing.

Unlike during the height of Sendong, residents of some places in the trail of Pablo knew of the dangers that faced them, and were more willing to surrender to preemptive evacuation, officials said.

Pres. Benigno Aquino 3rd said that he wanted to know why this catastrophe happened so it can be prevented from happening again. He also asked why the calamity killed a lot of people despite of the government’s preparation though Aquino later admitted that the government’s provision for the situation is not enough.

“Hindi ho ako kuntento. Kailangan talaga habulin natin walang masasalanta tuwing may sasapit nitong ganitong pagkakataon. So hindi ho ito ang oras nang pagsasalita, oras. [I am not satisfied. We need to ensure that there are no casualties every time there is a disaster. This is not a time for talk. It is a time to for work]”, he said.

Aquino visited the area where the casualties of typhoon Pablo were staying in temporary homes, especially in the town of New Bataan, Compostela Valley and other places from Region XI.

Typhoons Milenyo, Ondoy, Sendong and now Pablo, all left the country completely damaged. Though inexplicable, Filipinos in the affected areas have no choice but to stand up and try to make their lives back to normal.

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