Last December 4, Super Typhoon “Pablo” roared into the plains and mountains of Mindanao, creating a trail of death and destruction in an area that had never before experienced a storm, much more so, one of such magnitude. Typhoon Pablo, international name: Bopha, brought in over 130-mph winds and poured tons of rainfall on the eastern part of Mindanao, concentrating its devastation on the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Davao Norte. In the aftermath of the disaster, more than 640 were dead, around 800 more still missing, and damages to property, infrastructure and crops were estimated to reach a whopping P7 Billion.
The storm had its landfall in the town of Cateel, Davao Oriental. This town was completely razed, owing to the fact that this area was never hit by typhoons before. Hence, the houses built here were never as sturdy as those constructed in traditional typhoon-wracked areas as Quezon Province, the Bicol region or Samar. Cateel remained isolated for days, with vital bridges to the north and south of the town swept away by the storm. The neighboring town of Baganga suffered a similar fate, with the most massive destruction along the coastline. In New Bataan, Compostela Valley, a new river was born. Caused by rampant logging in the uplands, plus the uncontrolled illegal mining in the area, the floodwaters surged in like a tsunami coming from the mountains. New Bataan is home to vast tracts of banana plantations. All the banana trees were felled as though they were hit by one big nuclear explosion. The storm took a northwesterly direction, creating more havoc and hitting more provinces before exiting Western Mindanao for Palawan.
Attached are some pictures of the disaster and the ensuing relief and rehabilitation efforts. The government and the private sector have been very helpful in mobilizing to provide assistance for the victims of the calamity. International organizations have also chipped in. Unfortunately, there can never be enough. Food and water are still in short supply, compounded by the fact that the roads and bridges have not been fully operational. Even clothing and shelter are still needed, particularly in the towns of Cateel and Baganga.
In the spirit of Christmas, let’s join hands to do what we can to help the victims of Typhoon Pablo. Any donation will surely be appreciated. You may send old clothes, books or toys; you may send funds to buy food and medicine. Let’s not make this a blue Christmas for our brothers in Davao. You may get in touch with us or call the following numbers directly:
*ABS-CBN: (82) 296 1911
*GMA: (82) 297 2520
*Red Cross (Davao): (82) 227 6650 / 227 3949
*Red Cross (Tagum): 217 3473
*Red Cross (ComVal): (084) 376 0685 / Mobile: 0920-913-7885
*Red Cross (Mati): (087) 388-4022