Super typhoon Rolly

Published November 3, 2020, 4:01 PM

by Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal


Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal

This week we saw a devastating super typhoon ravage parts of the Philippines.  Super typhoon Rolly, the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines, left a path of destruction that will take some time to rebuild.

Super typhoon Rolly had four landfalls.  The first and most devastating landfall was in Bato, Catanduanes, then the second landfall was in Tiwi, Albay, a few hours later before weakening into a typhoon. The third landfall was in San Narciso, Quezon, and he fourth landfall was in Lobo, Batangas.

The super typhoon was earlier projected to pass Metro Manila, but it veered south.  That was a huge relief for the nation’s capital, but unfortunately, other provinces bore the brunt of the new path of the storm.

As regards the low casualty rate, Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, a network of about 42 civil society organizations in the Philippines working for climate change (Twitter: @aksyonklima )says “much credit goes to improved science communication and community-level response, lessons hard learned after Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013.  Weather and climate monitoring systems have improved, as has the communication of warnings.  In 2013, many local officials did not understand the warnings of a “storm surge” – and later likened the effects of Haiyan to a tsunami.   There are improvements when it comes to localizing these terms.

Though early casualty reports show a significantly low number, the devastation, specially to Catanduanes and other provinces in Bicol was horrific. In the province of Catanduanes alone, about 10,000 homes were completely destroyed, with thousands more partially damaged.

Other provinces were also devastated.  I’ve seen news reports from several news organizations, and also from netizens, on the extreme damage wrought about by Super Typhoon Rolly.  I hope enough support is provided for all those affected.

A good thing is that both President Duterte and Vice President Robredo visited Bicol.  The governors of the provinces affected have been busy attending to rescue and rehabilitation efforts, especially finding missing residents, clearing roads and getting power back on.

To say that the Philippines “breezed through” the storm is an insult to the millions of Filipinos who were victims of Rolly.  To downplay their suffering from the comfort of an airconditioned room, is the ultimate insult.  It’s a good thing many Filipinos are not callous and have been organizing relief efforts and donation drives to help bring needed supplies to disaster-stricken areas.  Red Cross has already sent teams to the various provinces.  Several efforts form private organizations have set up drives to gather food, clothing, and other necessary supplies to distribute to victims of the super typhoon.

One of those leading efforts to help those affected by Super Typhoon Rolly, is San Miguel Corporation, under the leadership of Ramon Ang.  San Miguel started to initially facilitate the donation and distribution of initially food products for Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Quezon Province, Romblon, Marinduque, Laguna, and Batangas. ”As we get a better hold of the situation in many areas — especially in terms of whether roads are already passable, and as to where aid can be brought—we will work to bring more food supplies to our affected kababayans through whatever means necessary,” Ang said.

As a person who has been through several natural calamities, supply of food and drinking water after a disaster is paramount, and that’s where we can help.

Other organizations helping out and where you can also donate though are: AkoBakwit ([email protected]), JCI Philippines (0917.5337474), JuanSpark Youth Leaders (0949.1671154), Kaya Natin Movement ([email protected]), UP CatandunganTabangCatanduanes (0197.3079148) and several others (apologies as I am unable to list all organizations).

With donor fatigue clearly setting in, primarily because the country is in the middle of a pandemic, even if people want to help, many are just running on empty due to the prolonged economic downturn and inability to help.  it’s good to see many still stepping up to help and assist fellow Filipinos.  However, with another storm on the way to the Philippines, the country needs a more comprehensive strategy.

Stay safe.  Wear a mask.  Lend a helping hand to victims of super typhoon Rolly.