Monday, November 11, 2013

Haiyan & Yolanda

This time news broke several days before the typhoon hit. This should have given us time to evacuate and minimize casualties. But as reports and Facebook posts came in about the super storm making its way to the Philippines I had the sinking feeling that the early warning wouldn't make a difference.

This is the photograph that really got me. I didn't doubt that each one of these guys would row, swim, save unconditionally. When push comes to shove that's who the Filipino is - self set aside, unconditional love for the random guy in the water. I don't doubt that for a second. But intent and effort aside, I couldn't be sure of their ability to systematically be effective. Who trained these guys? What process are they going to follow? I remember stories about how, in rescue missions during Hurricane Katrina, officers who had never even met before could work together as a team because they had received the same training. I am pretty sure that our guys, despite the same dedication and probably even more intense selfelessness, have never received any such training.

This is why, even if we've gotten hit by more than fifteen storms this year, as it happens every year, all hell breaks loose when disaster strikes. Despite the fact that typhoons are a yearly, monthly occurrence, there is no routine to aid, let alone prevent. Equally disturbing are the photographs of people trying to fortify their homes or secure property. This is all they can do - nobody has given them better alternatives. This time the warning came early. But an amber alert wouldn't be of much use in the Philippines. Nobody knows what to do.

Some people say that most cities were able to take precautonary measures. But what I'm talking about is a studied, researched, proven method to minimize damage. Tokyo, one of the most earthquake-prone cities, has engineered all of its buildings to be able to withstand most minor quakes. I don't know when we will ever have such a systematic response.

The images and footage of the 'apocalyptic" aftermath are devastating and heartbreaking. We can't prevent natural disasters and it is inevitable that there will be catastrophes so terrible that even a first-world country wouldn't be able to side step it. But I dream that one day we can put processes and measures in place to systematically mitigate and minimize disaster. I don't quite know what the individual response is to get there. But this should be something we can work through together.


No comments

© be your digital best / digital marketing philippines

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig