The dawn just passed. Camera shutters sped up to catch the scoop. Morning news broke down at that early time of the day as if anchors went mourning to enjoy the lavish of the nature’s wrath. “Sendong has just escaped out from the vicinity!” – as morning news reported with sly revelry! As chanting went on, the victims and the survivors yelled in a silent pandemonium grieving and asserting without even a written appeal – “Sendong” left the areas LOL (laughing out loud)!
Chronology of “Sendong”1
On December 15, 2011 the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that a tropical depression east of Mindanao entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility. This tropical depression, named “Sendong”, maintained its strength as it moved to Northeastern Mindanao and Eastern Visayas regions as reported.
“Sendong” continued to threaten Northeastern Mindanao and made its landfall on December 16, 2011 in the areas affected. However, on December 17, 2011, it maintained its course towards Sulu Sea and intensified it strength that ranged from 55 to 65 kph.
“Sendong” exited by moving westward in the west Philippine Sea at 8:00 p.m. on December 18, 2011.
Incidents in Affected Areas by “Sendong”2
Selected areas of municipalities and barangays in Regions VI, VII, IX, X, and XI are lambasted by floods, landslides, and sea mishaps. However, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) claimed that massive flooding occurred in the areas where Mandulog and Agus rivers overflowed. Landslides in selected areas of Compostela Valley and Lanao del Sur were brought about by the overflow of Togoloan and Siguan rivers, as NDRRMC further stated in their report. Also reported that a cargo ship owned by Kherl Lines loaded with Asia Brewery products and a pump boat owned by LGU Lazi, Siquijor sank because of strong winds and giant waves intensified by “Sendong”.
Effects, Casualties, and Cost of Damages3
As claimed by the NDRRMC, the total number of affected population reached to 63, 079 families. There were 51, 083 families comprised the total number of population in the evacuation centers. As of December 20, 2011, 6:00 in the morning, NDRRMC accounted 957 identified and unidentified dead bodies, 1,582 injured, 49 missing, and only 432 rescued survivors in all affected regions.
“Sendong” has dramatically left affected areas a total of 10, 345 partially and totally damaged houses and lost worth millions in agricultural damages not to mention damaged roads, bridges, power, and communications.
However, what more important than the lives of the affected people at stake is incomprehensible, indivisible, and unspeakable in a plain language ever known to man.
The report declared that a number of casualties are alarming. It further asserted that government should look into a mitigation aspect of areas with high exposure to disaster risk and employ prioritization of it.4 However, looking at this perspective, the Aquino government failed to address it.
Since time immemorial, the Philippines is not only rich in natural resources but also abundant of natural calamities intensified by human practices and degradation to natural resources. Leaders, yesterdays and todays, should have known it beforehand.
There have been significant tropical storms in the past; in “Ondoy” and “Reming“, leaders should have learned from it and to expect that our country have it more in the future, they should have already addressed solutions or improvisations to at least minimize the effects of exposure of risks.
Despite constant address of the environmental advocates, despite “Ondoy” incident, despite Japan tsunami, and despite the worlds’ clamor to address with sense of urgency on the issues affecting climate change, leaders, based on “Sendong” aftermath, failed to expedite concerns affecting and relating possible consequences of this call. Leaders become complacent!
It is degrading, unlikely, and immature to learn that Mr. Aquino in the onset of “Sendong” tragedy can afford to enjoy himself surrounded by celebrities and those people who categorically supported and backed him up all throughout his “not-so-intelligent” decisions and actuations before the public, to the Filipinos, and to the international communities.
Besides, Aquino government maybe obviously busy achieving its plans and actions to run after CGMA (Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) and her allies. These Aquino administration priorities allegedly neglect its full responsibility to supervise environmental schemes and implementations that directly concerned to the welfare of all Filipinos.
Then, what more can Filipinos expect from Aquino administration throughout his term?
If Mr. Aquino’s attitude towards performance of his duties in line with his administration’s agenda and his mindset towards economics and politics will remain as constant indicator, then not only climate disturbances, like “Sendong” will go laughing out loud at Philippine leadership but also the oil products, the basic commodities, the employment statistics, crimes, and desperate negligence will go ranting and mocking at us!
- 1 Sitrep No.11 Re: Effects of Tropical Storm “Sendong” (Washi). National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Update. As of December 20, 2011, 6:00 a.m.
- 2 Ibid., page 2.
- 3Ibid., pp. 3–4.
- 4 Sitrep No 10 Re: Effects of Tropical Storm “Sendong” (Washi). Presidential Guidance Re-effects of Tropical Storm “Sendong”, December 17, 2011. Tab E. As of December 19, 2011, 6:00 p.m.
Filed under: Geography and Landmarks, Politics and Government | Tagged: Aquino, cagayan de oro, iligan, mainbar, NDRRMC, north mindanao flood, PAGASA, Philippines, Sendong, tropical storm, victims of sendong, washi | 2 Comments »