Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
Four days after super-typhoon Pablo’s fury hit Dumaguete and Negros Oriental, people could only offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the minimal damage caused on crops, properties, and infrastructure, with zero casualty last Tuesday.
With the sad and traumatic memories of typhoon Sendong still quite fresh on people’s minds (it was on December 17 last year that Sendong wrought havoc to the province), preparations for this one, labeled as stronger than Sendong and other previous typhoons, started a few days before it actually came. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry. And, indeed, families living in flood-prone areas were told that evacuation efforts will be implemented to bring them to safer places. It was this timely information and evacuation that prevented loss of lives and damage to properties.
People today are more vigilant and aware of impending disasters and calamities, and their past experiences must have taught them to heed calls for assistance and evacuation. Credit has to be given to the city government and its officials for their prompt decision to suspend classes and work last Tuesday after Pag-asa placed Negros Oriental under Signal No. 2 on Monday, elevating it to Signal No. 3 next day.
Situations such as this bring out the best in the people. At churches and barangay halls as well as private schools, being used as evacuation centers, help simply just poured in for the 228 families, or 3,794 individuals, who were affected. Thankfully, their stay was shortlived as Pablo became a distant memory on Wednesday.
What compounded the situation was the ongoing Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association meet that Dumaguete was hosting, that opened only last Sunday, and the 85th Founders Day of Negros Oriental State University. Some of the activities had to be postponed for a while . If there is anything that the young athletes will remember, it was the efficient handling by the city officials and the Department of Education of the situation to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort.
If typhoon Pablo is to be remembered by us, it is for the spirit of fellowship that brought out the best in people. Thus, in case future natural calamities occur, we will be better prepared if we take to heart the experiences from which we learned.*