The Philippines is no stranger to natural disasters. As a matter of fact, it has been one of the major sources of international attention to the country in the past few years, especially in the wake of typhoon Yolanda (known as Haiyan in international news platforms.) A few days ago, only 8 short months after Yolanda, typhoon Glenda (known as Rammasun internationally), was the latest in the never ending list of storms to tear through the country.
News reports say that Glenda was only technically in the greater Metro Manila area for a total of 3 hours, but it was enough to shut down the entire capital city. Trees, electric posts, even posh malls were seen ripped from the ground, toppled over, and torn apart because of the storm.
My area in the southern part of Metro Manila lost power at around 4:30 Wednesday morning, at what I believe was the height of the storm. It wasn’t until Friday afternoon that the power came back on in my area, but unfortunately the same still cannot be said for a large part of the Metro. Naturally, everyone has been recalling the storm Milenyo, which happened in 2006, and had the same effects that Glenda had, in it that the strong winds were what dealt the most damage, as opposed to the floods of Yolanda. Thankfully, it seems as if Meralco, various telco companies, and even malls and other food establishments seem to have been way more prepared for Glenda this time around, as the power was restored quicker, communication was difficult but not impossible (considering the major telco companies were also not as high tech back in 2006) and most major malls and supermarkets were operational and open as safe havens to those needing power, food, and shelter within 24 hours.
(And yes, I choose to look at the positives of how this storm was handled as opposed to complaining about the lack of power in my house. I am safe and dry, my loved ones are safe and dry, and there are people out there risking their lives for you so that you can charge your cellphone again and get on Facebook. Perspective is in order, people.)
It’s frightening to think that this is only the first storm of our infamous rainy season. This is why everyone needs to make sure that they are prepared for whatever else will come our way this year. The Red Cross has an incredibly helpful Disaster Safety Library that everyone needs to read. Here are the links for the flood safety checklist and the tsunami safety checklist. Remember, one of the reasons that Yolanda had such extensive damage was because so many areas and people simply were not ready for it. Also, here is a helpful list of recommended basic disaster supplies that everyone should have ready in their homes.
Growing up in a country like the Philippines, it is easy to be so desensitized to things like this. Seeing people swimming, living, and working in flood water is not a new thing, and it is easy to forget just how horrible a living condition that is. It is heartbreaking to watch your country be ravaged over, and over, and over again by something that is way beyond your control. But we will get through this, because we are Filipinos. And like that post that goes around the Internet every June 12 says, where I come from, everyone is a hero. You’re in my prayers, Pilipinas.