'Calamities are bound to happen, and there is not much we can do but prepare'
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – In Tacloban City, people are on their toes. Houses are being rebuilt, businesses are reopening, and malls are reconstructing 5 months after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
But every time a storm warning is raised, there is an unspoken fear you could see in everyone’s eyes: the fear of another Yolanda.
To date, there have been 4 tropical depressions that entered the Philippine area of responsibility, most of them coming from the Pacific Ocean. And with Tacloban facing the largest ocean in the world, we need to be prepared.
After Yolanda, we picked up a few lessons. More people now understand better how storms work.
Below is a list I have gathered from Taclobanons themselves on what they prepare before another disaster strikes.
Flashlight – As in previous storms, we’ve known that the Leyte Energy Corporation (LEYECO) turns off electricity a few hours before they strike. So a flashlight will come in handy.
Battery-powered radios – It is wise to be up to date with what is happening and where the storm is be located.
Wrapped belongings – In case of a storm surge (or a tidal wave), it is better to wrap important belongings like cell phones, cameras, books, jewelry, important documents like birth certificates using a zip lock bag or any tightly sealed plastic bag.
Groceries – Canned goods, cup noodles, water, and biscuits should be prepared beforehand. Also check for expiration dates. Stock up on easily prepared food, and arrange them all in an accessible place.
2nd floor hiding place – Bring important belongings with you and store them in a place that is less likely to get wet. Choose a well-ventilated room with few windows.
First aid kit – During a storm, shards of glass and flying debris could injure anyone, so it is best to have a first aid kit. Filled with medicines, hydrogen peroxide (agua oxinada), band-aid, gauze, and alcohol, the kit should be stored in a place known to everyone.
Charge all devices – Charge your phones and laptops. When your phone dies, you could charge it through your laptop through its USB. Keep screen brightness low and turn off the vibrate mode to conserve energy.
Higher ground – The breakables, the photo albums, the dictionary, the appliances that could be carried, bring them all up to the 2nd floor. Put them in a place you know wouldn’t get wet or destroyed.
Be updated – A few hours before the storm, keep tabs on what is happening. We have the Internet, television, radio, and even your phone as sources of information. Try to find out critical disaster information.
Stay together – It is heartening to see your family together even if you are stuck inside a room for hours terrified by the howling wind and crashing sounds. Stay with your loved ones. If you are not with your family, stay close to the people in your building. No man is an island during disaster.
Hope for the best, expect the worst.
Calamities are bound to happen, and there is not much we can do but prepare. If possible, evacuate even before government officials tell you.
And lastly, pray. When the world seems to be ending outside, you can get the most calming feeling when you pray.
Trust me, we Taclobanons know. – Rappler.com
Le-an Lai Lacaba, 18, is taking BA Comm Arts at the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College.
Help build resilient communities. For more information about disaster risk reduction and management, visit the Project Agos microsite. It is a platform that combines top down government action and bottom up civic engagement to help communities deal with climate change and disasters.
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