A few days after commemorating the first anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda, I spent a few minutes reflecting on what happened. I suddenly remembered PNoy’s televised speech warning the people about the storm that is about to hit the country. He even assured the people that both the national government and the local government units are ready for the typhoon. This speech made me ask myself, “Did we listen to PNoy’s speech and did we really join his call to prepare for the supertyphoon?” and “Did the local government units really prepare?” I could spend all day blaming a lot of people because of what happened. After all, thousands of Filipinos died on that fateful day. But, I think what’s more important besides praying together is reflecting. Reflecting on what we did, what we did not do and what we can and should do in the future.
Because of the lecture about disaster risk reduction and management in our NSTP class, I realized the importance of preparation for a natural hazard. An example the speaker gave was the preparation of Batanes when there’s a storm about to come. From typhoon-resistant houses to storing food good for several days, it’s no wonder that this province rarely gets casualties. They somehow learned how to live with the storms and prevent natural hazards from being disasters.
Most people stayed inside their houses despite the constant announcement of the government to evacuate. Their reason for staying usually is to guard their belongings. Others just ignored the announcements and thought that this would be just another storm. Sadly, there were a lot of bodies found inside the houses. They just didn’t expect the storm surge/flood to reach the second or third floor of their houses.
Most of the people didn’t listen to the government and media. The technology was also not utilized that much for information dissemination. The speaker even compared a tweets of Mahar Lagmay and some other celebrity. He said that the tweet of that celebrity whose name I can’t remember got more retweets than Mahar Lagmay’s tweet about the storm. The speaker also shared how hazard mapping is being underutilized. He said that if use correctly, it could save a lot of lives.
With the technology we have today, we can really prepare for natural hazards especially typhoons. We can use technology to minimize the effects of these hazards. From knowing how high the water level could go to knowing the flood prone areas, technology, with the help of Project NOAH and the Department of Science and Technology, can really help us prepare for such hazards.
Now that we know our shortcomings during the preparation for the Super Typhoon Yolanda, we can prevent the same thing from happening in the future. We should prepare and maximize the use of technology. The government provides us the tools to prepare for the hazards and all we have to do is to know these tools and help one another prepare. Even if we lack technology, we can still prepare just like what Batanes is doing. For a country that is very exposed to tropical cyclones and other natural hazards, we should be vigilant, resourceful and proactive. The Philippines still has a long way to go when it comes to disaster preparedness but I know that the whole country can be as prepared as Batanes someday. With preparation and cooperation, the country will be ready to face any storm.