Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng - Wrath of Nature and the Resiliency of the Filipinos


In a matter of ten days, two typhoons wreaked havoc to northern Philippines. First, it was Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) on September 26, 2009. Its heavy rainfall drowned Metro Manila in under six hours. Floods rose at an unusually fast rate, taking only thirty minutes to reach six feet deep. It sent many Filipinos on their rooftops for refuge where they remained for twenty hours at least before rescue came their way. Meanwhile, floods slowly receded, if not at all, and destroyed many properties. Some homes and other means of livelihood were left beyond repair or recovery. Those rescued were given temporary shelter in evacuation centers.

A week later, although it seemed unbelievable, Typhoon Pepeng (Parma) threatened to cause further destruction as it headed for northern Philippines once more. Although it spared Metro Manila this time, the residents of the northern provinces like Cagayan and Catanduanes were not as lucky. The fierce winds uprooted many trees and likewise destroyed major infrastructures and means of livelihood. As if it were not enough yet, Typhoon Pepeng lingered still for a few days and caused serious flooding and landslides in La Union, Benguet and especially Pangasinan.

The aftermath is a vision of not just devastated areas but also devastated spirits. Many people died;  thousands of families left homeless. The next kind of flooding that occurred is a flooding outpour of help from various sectors that came in the form of relief goods and monetary donations to help rebuild lives. This contagious and electrifying social current spread like wildfire to the whole nation who suddenly took it upon themselves to extend assistance even in the smallest way possible.

The next scene we saw is a series of non-stop operations from different groups that sent relief goods to various affected areas. Thousands of volunteers piled up in these centers to help repack loot bags. Pangasinan suffered one of the most pitiable plights as heavy flooding rendered their major roads impassable. Relief goods rained on them instead from helicopters. It is a most welcome downpour for the victims after their trauma from the typhoon.

The Philippines has experienced to date one of the biggest blows of nature's fury. Practically the whole of Luzon region is now submerged in murky water. However, if there is any positive light that came out of this phenomenon, it is the fact that the Filipinos were once again given the warm invitation to unite and help the thousands of victims of these calamities. The overflowing generosity and act of kindness of many individuals from all over the country are truly heartwarming and moving. These are enough to give hope once more to the victims of a monstrous casualty.

If there is one thing mightier than the wrath of nature, it is the resiliency of the Filipino people. Northern Philippines shall rise again after this debacle and will stand stronger than ever before.

This article was accepted and can be viewed at Ezine.
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