COVID-19, hunger, rains
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - September 17, 2020 - 12:00am

Reports noted an LPA that would pass through several areas in the Visayas and Luzon. So when the rains intermittently came and left last Tuesday, no one was really worried about this situation.

However, the rains continued to fall more heavily, would stop awhile, but then would resume, stay longer and the volume seemed more than the previous downpour.

FB posts started to question what the rainfall alert level was in Cebu closer to midnight. By then, cable TV had stopped. Reports of flooding were posted. Were there landslides as well hidden by the darkened night?

Earlier posts asking about floods were written by those who lived in higher areas of Cebu City and Mandaue City. While on elevated locations, floods had started to appear and so many netizens who were protected from the floods were worried about other residents in lower, flood-prone areas.

Those inside their cars were worried they would be caught by floods. Gratefully, they made it home safely. Still, the concern was there for those who were caught by the heavy rains and floods.

Many shared the hope posted in an FB wall that disaster and emergency relief agencies were closely monitoring the rains past midnight.

NDRRMC posted Orange Rainfall alert in Cebu with possible flooding and landslide at 1 a.m. of September 16. The next message sent through cellphone at 6:15 a.m. mentioned Red Rainfall Alert warning of more severe flooding and landslides.

Thankfully, at the time this article was written, the rains have stopped before noon. The skies, however, remained dark and cloudy. Karaoke has resumed somewhere in the neighborhood. Perhaps the worst has passed?

We could not help but worry, however, for the homeless. With the streets and pavements as their home and beds, were they able to seek refuge and shelter from last night’s heavy rains?

The COVID-19 pandemic has added more homeless since March. Left jobless, many could not pay their house rent. Sadly, many drivers converted their jeepneys into their homes for their families, even tricycles. Those inside during the heavy rains must also have experienced water dripping through parts of their homes made of sub-standard materials.

Many poor have lamented that they would die either of COVID-19 or hunger or both. Add rains to that list. Without homes, without roofs over their heads, without jobs, without food, without protection, what chance have our poor to survive heavy rains, hunger and COVID-19?

They have stretched their arms to beg for help out in the streets, but not during the strong rains, however. Cold, wet, hungry, without jobs, can our poor survive especially during rainy days of this pandemic?

They have aired their cries on TV. However, until now, there is no clear plan for livelihood support for drivers, for those in the informal sector, for those in poor communities.

Social amelioration funds are short, not systematically and honestly distributed to the most needy, and not sustainable. Cannot local and national governments come up soonest with genuine sustainable solutions for all, especially the most needy?

Why is Congress more interested in funding unnecessary infra projects, like airports and waste to energy facilities? Why are the needy not at all prioritized soonest?

How much longer will the poor suffer hunger, joblessness, and the real threat of the deadly

virus? Then now, the rains are here. God forbid, next, hopelessness, despair.

How much longer do our people have to cry like Jesus Christ on the cross: (Matthew 27:46) - “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” or the psalmist (Psalm 22:1) “why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?”

Not much longer, we trust, we pray.

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