Wednesday, November 13, 2013

2 Month Tragedy


The 2013 Bohol earthquake occurred on October 15, 2013, at 8:12 a.m. in Bohol, an island province located in Central Visayas, Philippines. The magnitude of the earthquake at the epicenter was recorded at 7.2, located 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) SW of Sagbayan town, at a depth of 12 kilometres (7.5 mi). It affected the whole Central Visayas region, particularly Bohol and Cebu. The quake was felt in the whole Visayas area and as far as Masabate island in the north and Cotabato provinces in southern Mindanao.

According to official reports by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 222 were reported dead, 8 were missing, and 976 people were injured. In all, more than 73,000 structures were damaged or destroyed.

It was the deadliest earthquake in the Philippines in 23 years. The energy of the quake released was equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs. Previously, Bohol was also hit by an earthquake on February 8, 1990 that damaged several buildings and caused a tsunami.

These are some of the snapshots taken during the tragedy.

5 days ago, the typhoon Haiyan had struck the Philippines, particularly the province of Tacloban (the capital of the Leyte province), and had left it 80% flat of food resources, shelter and water. So many social networks and websites do their best to get information to address every Filipino's need of assurance, calamity response and relief centers to help out the country in rising up from this tragedy. Personally, I feel overwhelmed, hurt and worried for my fellow Filipinos. It was hard to be happy (together with my husband) during our holiday trip seeing the victims calling out desperately for help everyday in the news. 

Philippines faces tragedy after tragedy, island per island, for the past 2 months. Not to mention, overseas Filipino workers here in Hong Kong alone are holding on to their jobs with the fear of being sent back because of the sizzling argument concerning the Rizal Park hostage-taking incident. But that's another story.

I am pretty sure no encouraging words will make sense right now most especially to the people who are currently experiencing the aftermath. Such great loss is too much to take. The victims, out of despair are holding out a gun to a fellow Filipino for his store not to be cleared out of its goods. People had become instant thieves because of absence of their basic needs. I have been discussing with my husband about the news and he had shared to me some of his ideas to make aid faster. One example is to clear Tacloban of the people who need critical care first (the wounded, the ones who were in intensive care and the pregnant ones, the wounded, the infants and kids whose immediate needs couldn't be put into halt) and make those who are able to work, be aggressive in helping out on establishing relief goods stations, heliports, and hospitals. That way, everybody moves. I concur and I believe this would help faster recovery of the province from the Haiyan affectation. Yet again, all that we could do is exchange ideas. This moved me into still trying to encourage families of the victims not to lose hope. Let me share my own story.

Nov. 7, we flew to Thailand, a much awaited breather from a very hectic season at work. Nov. 8, I learned that Haiyan, a 3 times stronger than Katrina super typhoon, had hit the Visayan region, Philippines. This is where the province of Romblon is located and this is where my dad is staying now. I wrote right away to my dad via Facebook. That's how we communicate. I expected that power lines will be off. Since then, my husband and I were in front of the TV every chance we get to know about Philippines condition. A day after, Nov. 9, my dad wrote back informing me that the eye of the storm had passed already and they were expecting heavy rains, flood and a lot of damage that they made my aunts and their families stay in our ancestral home (made of marble so they decided to gather there altogether) but there were none experienced even the day after. No damage at all to the province and they are all safe. If you would look at the map of the Philippines, out of 7,000+ islands, only 6 big ones covered Romblon to safety. I couldn't believe it that there was no damage at all as Haiyan covered the entire Visayas region. My relief was incomparable to any good feeling I have by hearing from them. My present to my Dad for his birthday last October was a camera so I asked him to take a photo of everybody and post it then tag me to have a look of everything.

my dad, my grandmother, may aunt and her 2 sons

my uncle, my godmother and Daryl, my cousin
I was at the edge of my seat waiting to hear from them. I am very thankful for this blessing for my birthday is about to come. And tonight, I prayed and thanked our God that twice He had blessed me this way. One was during my 18th birthday saving my mom from a critical condition brought by a blow on the head. And now, my 31st birthday keeping my dad and that side of my family safe. 

Besides this one, my husband and I reached Hong Kong safely too with no turbulence whatsoever, that I was worried the storm would bring. I called my dad right away to ask how he is doing and he told me the talk of the town in Romblon. 

He said, there was a man riding his motorcycle late at night of Nov. 7. He saw an old woman walking to the shores. He got curious so he slowed down and asked the woman where she was going this time of the night. The woman answered, "I am going to my children living by the shore to see them because these children of mine love me so much." The man feeling that everything was normal, and that she was doing her own thing, he bid her goodbye and reminded her to take care because a storm was coming. And she said, "That's exactly why I'm going there, to protect them...." "OK!" Then he let her go. Some believe that she was heaven sent to protect Romblon because the island is prayerful. It might just be a coincidence. Or maybe they were really protected.

Moving on, I hope that these dark times would lead us into getting awakened of what the Philippine government should be paying attention too. 

Lack of immediate action, better infrastructure, strong nation and humility above all to thank the countries who had extended their help. I was angered by this image because the person who reposted this in Facebook had captioned it "EMBARASSING!". I need not say more. The picture shows everything about a general in command. What the country exactly lacks. I don't know what's the sense of him coming to Tacloban to help if he acts this way.

Again, I salute those people who had helped the Philippines. Right now, what they are dealing with is dehydration and a number of diseases due to filthy water. I am calling out to the president of the Philippines to act according to the immediate needs of the people affected rather than imposing taxes on the goods being delivered. There are big donations that will help you build what was lost. A little bit of empathy so that you would somehow be poked to move. I am surprised that the American soldier being interviewed on TV is the one expressive of the pressure that is due to lack of time to give the people aid. All that I heard from you was imposing Tacloban as "in a state of natural calamity". Aides are coming in from different parts of the world because of that I know. But if you yourself should go there and help distribute the food yourself, please do so. Just saying, you should be the FIRST one there and not some other foreigner.

Here is a tribute from my colleague, Kel Parina.

I have friends whom I work with whose families are in dire need of help since access to enough food, clean water and safe shelter is difficult. Yet again, there is a tropical depression which is about to hit Philippines. Any donations or help that you are willing to give, don't hesitate to leave your email address below and we'll get back to you or send information to your email directly.

Keep the faith my fellow Visayans. Never lose hope.
God provides.

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