Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

bago17From Rappler.com (Nov 13, 2013) Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

As the tragedy of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) unfolds, the immensity of the disaster hits us like a knockout punch in the face.

It is brought to us by the vivid pictures of whole communities flattened, of people fighting desperately for food and other resources, and of death delivered to our living rooms by the magic of modern technology.

bago1

There was an uneasy, short-lived calm on the streets of Tacloban City, brought about by the heavy rains of Zoraida. It was a temporary ceasefire that hopefully washed away that reeking smell of rotting flesh, and provided our officials an extra day to ward off the harassing pleas for help coming from all over the region.

But things will get worse before they get better.

???????????????????

The destruction is just too massive that relief goods right now haven’t reached many isolated towns on the eastern coastline of Samar. We need more supplies to reach northwards, as well as southwards from Tacloban.

It is not a case of “relief goods not being distributed properly.” Rather it is a case of overwhelming needs.

bago9

Supply line

Our experience with Bohol during the recent earthquake – and with most other disasters like Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro, Typhoon Pablo in Compostela, and many more – tells us that it will take usually 2 to 3 days before a supply line can be established, and another 2 to 3 days before the system is fine-tuned. Because the scope here is bigger, give that transition phase another 2 to 3 days.

Unfortunately, people are getting hungry and desperate. That is why there’s looting as hunger, fear and pain set in.

bago7

The government will have to move faster and not treat this just like any other disaster. It has its work cut out for them.

Organizing everyone amid the chaos is top priority. There’s the search and rescue operations which must now start to taper down.There’s the retrieval operations before disease sets in. There’s the relief operations with the all-important food, water and clothing needs. There’s the law-enforcement operations to reestablish order in the communities.

We must also hasten the establishment of temporary shelters and evacuation centers for the thousands of victims who have no place to stay. These are just some of the priority issues that must have focused leadership and direction.

bago11

One can get easily lost in the maze of functions that are interconnected. Organizing the locals for this, teaming them up with the outsiders from Manila, and further coordinating them with other foreign contingents, is part of that initial challenge of organizing the command center.

Aside from the establishment of the command center, the command’s situational awareness must be honed to the max. It must have information at its fingertips, to ensure that decision-making is sound. We are lucky to have additional air transport assets from other countries. But this in itself is a big, big challenge.

We need to get more entities involved in the transport of vital supplies to Samar and Leyte. The use of only 2 C-130s shuttling between Cebu and Tacloban is like attempting to make do with two drums of water when you need a firetruck to stop a fire. It is definitely not enough. (Editor’s note: The United States’ C-130s started arriving in Tacloban Wednesday afternoon, November 13.)

bago10

Now is the time for the Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific to come to the government’s help by dedicating even a flight a day for personnel and supplies. They can have the return flights to Cebu ticketed. Now is the time to mobilize our shipping lines to bring more supplies to Leyte and Samar. In times of such emergency, our air and sea transport companies should be ready to stand up and be counted.

One command, one focus

We are thankful for the massive support pouring in. Still, we need the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) to invest in water purifiers, generators, solar power systems and redundant communication systems, items that have consistently been in demand in the past million or so disasters we’ve encountered in the country. We have not learned.

bago5

The NDRRMC has the funds to buy these and more, except that fiscal quirks provide so many constraints which practically disallow the fund’s utilization for capital outlay.

We must now be prepared for the “new normal.” That new normal says that there will be more floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, droughts and other calamities with even greater intensity. The old way of doing things will no longer suffice.

We know that our people have the resiliency and resolve to recover. But we need to get our act together.

2h33

What we need today are a centralized command, a system that’s simple, and a group that has one focus, one direction. No politics, no personal interests, just plain and simple service.

What we need tomorrow is tons and tons of preparation. All that, and God’s infinite mercy.

For more stories on Super-Typhoon Yolanda, pls visit:

(Photos courtesy of Associated Press, IBTimes.com, Inquirer.net, CBanga360.net, Rappler.com, Philstar.com, gov.ph, michaeldsellers.com, GMA network, Atlanticwire.com,TheSummit.com, Pinoy99blogspot.com, westernpacificweather.com)

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

15 comments

  1. I really do not know, kasi puro papogi pa rin ang nakikita ko. Only the local officials who looked so harassed and helpless as even everything they own’s gone are trying so hard to bring order to what was left. I just do know how the logistics are on the ground as National disaster coordinating and mismanagement commission is so unprepared. You are right they never learn. Maybe you should not have retired yet and then you could have put order and direction amidst all the chaos. Puro stop gap lang ang alam gawin ng mga national officials. Ano ba yan.

    Like

      1. Wow, that was very enlightening.All so true.I could not find a word more than APPRECIATE basta mao na that I want to say to you and the work that you have done.God Bless you to give you good health and strength to do good to others.I pray for you. Is there anything I can do to help in your crusade, in my own little way.

        Like

        1. thanks, chol. first is we need to share the news about the disaster, for all of humanity to stand together on this. on a global scale, the campaign to promote the continued existence of the human race is paramount. at the national level, we need to put pressure on government not to treat this like any other disaster. this is much worse than other previous disasters.

          Like

  2. Many Blessings & much Love to the Filipino People. I’m glad I found your blog and articles on Rappler. I’m hoping to move to the Philippines late 2014 and am interested in assisting the Filipino people. Please keep up the great work you are doing. Salamat Po. Blessings & Love, Mel Waller

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.