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Unimaginable

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - October 20, 2015 - 10:00am

Typhoon Lando is well on its way out, albeit at a snail's pace. The weather disturbance that entered the country as a "supertyphoon" has been downgraded to a tropical depression, but not before wreaking havoc on a large area of Luzon. Hardest hit were the provinces of Aurora and Nueva Ecija, causing massive flooding and landslides rendering several roads and bridges impassable. Even areas not directly hit by Lando like Zambales and Baguio were affected. Damage to agriculture is in the hundreds of millions of pesos. Brings a whole lot of meaning to the saying "be careful what you wish for." Many passengers were stranded as flights and sea voyages were cancelled. Twelve deaths were recorded by the NDRRMC. Most were killed by landslides or falling trees. The DENR might want to do an ocular inspection of large trees in the city, after one was felled by Lando's strong winds, crushing four houses in Quezon City. Two fatalities were caused by the incident.

In Metro Manila, the effects of typhoon Lando could still be felt Tuesday morning, in spite of the sun's rays penetrating the cloud cover. Gusts of wind could still be felt along with rain, proof of the large area that the typhoon covered. It continues to dump rain on northern Luzon, adding to those already inundated areas that seem to last forever, prolonging the misery of residents. Many places in the country are still devoid of an effective system of canals by which floodwaters can swiftly drain into rivers and oceans.

Clearing operations are also being done, but not fast enough. There is a lack of heavy equipment like bulldozers and the like, along with chainsaws which can make quick work of fallen trees. Heavy equipment are usually borrowed from different sources, something municipalities should look into. It would be nice if all municipalities had their own heavy equipment and tools to effectively clear roads and bridges. Towns that are cut-off due to blocked roads may not get the help they badly need.

The silver lining would be the typhoon filling up dams in Luzon that badly need water. At present, almost all the dams in Luzon have increased water levels, with a couple even having to release water to prevent spilling over. Angat dam which supplies irrigation and Metro Manila's water supply is at a more comfortable level after Lando dumped a lot of rain in the surrounding areas. Water rationing has been called off.

The typhoon has shown what the country still needs in terms of disaster response, in both infrastructure and equipment. What has improved is the way people respond to warnings and advice regarding evacuation. I hope this continues to improve. What we really did not need was another calamity at the heels of this one. I was horrified when a tremor hit Metro Manila Monday evening. Though it lasted only a few seconds, it was strong enough to get my attention. I later found out that the epicenter was at Mindoro, with a magnitude of 5.8. That's strong enough for concern. An earthquake striking right after a supertyphoon and at night - unimaginable.

korina_abs@yahoo.com.

ANGAT AURORA AND NUEVA ECIJA IN METRO MANILA LANDO LUZON METRO MANILA METRO MANILA MONDAY MINDORO QUEZON CITY TYPHOON LANDO ZAMBALES AND BAGUIO
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