When Yolanda/Haiyan, the world’s most destructive typhoon ever, ravaged Eastern Visayas last November and left more than 6,300 people dead, expert warnings told us all that the government and the people must prepare for more—many more—big and bigger ones.
Today, there is no sign that the government has become more prepared. The last big rain the other day that paralyzed Makati with chest-high floods was proof of this lack of preparation.
And it’s not only unpreparedness. The tragedy of Yolanda has been compounded by the Aquino government’s inability to succor the victims properly—up to now nearly one year after the super typhoon struck Leyte. Two of our columnists, Yen Makabenta and Katrina Stuart Santiago are from Leyte. They have given personal testimony of how the victims continue to suffer even now. They confirm with their first-hand knowledge of what is happening on the ground that the Aquino government has been telling lies to us Filipinos and the people of the world about how they have done well in rehabilitating the lives of the victims. The Aquino government has not even managed to give correct accounting of the hundreds of millions of US dollars that foreigners have donated for the victims.
There are signs that another storm approximating the power of Yolanda could develop during the remaining months of the year—and possibly hit the Philippines.
On Saturday, India began evacuating thousands of people from fishing villages as it braced for Cyclone Hudhud that was barreling toward its east coast. Cyclone Hudhud was expected to pound the coast with winds of at least 190 kilometers (118 miles) an hour, accompanied by torrential rains.
Meanwhile, powerful Typhoon Vongfong was churning toward Japan’s main islands on Sunday after strong winds and heavy rains left 23 injured in the south. The monster storm hit the southern Okinawan islands over the weekend and is now moving toward the main Kyushu and Honshu islands, where it is due to make landfall as early as Monday morning.
Vongfong was packing gusts of up to 180 kph as it moved north-northwest. Thank God it spared the Philippines.
Before Vongfong threatened Japan, Typhoon Phanfone left five dead and six missing on Tuesday last week. The powerful typhoon packed winds of up to 180 kilometers (112 miles) per hour. Phanfone whirled over Tokyo and other major cities during the morning rush hour of Monday last week, canceling some 600 flights and suspending more than 100 bullet train services while many factories were shuttered.
Phanfone was a powerful storm, and Japan remarkably kept the casualty rate from the typhoon very low. Also to be lauded is the Indian government. Learning its lessons from previous storms that killed thousands of people, it took proactive measures by evacuating 350,000 residents from areas where Hudhud is expected to unleash its fury. India also immediately tapped its Navy and Air Force to help in the massive evacuations.
Based on the Aquino Administration’s track record of failures, incompetence and criminal neglect, it is difficult to be optimistic that when the next super typhoon comes to our country, we will be seeing the proactive moves taken by the people and government in Japan and India.
But there is always the power of prayer. Let us beseech God to have mercy on us and spare our people the pain and suffering from natural disasters because we are already suffering from the moral and physical pain caused by the Aquino Administration.