Perennial concern

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - October 24, 2020 - 12:00am

A perennial twin concern to all of us comes each rainy season. And this concern is not remote to a specific area like a town or city, but it cuts through many locations that allow a large population to be so concerned. We expect a flood to occur after a few hours of rain.

While water finds its way out and goes back to the sea, before it gets there, it causes too much havoc for many people. This is because so much waste has blocked the drainage. The reckless handling of waste, throwing trash around, dumping it in the canals, esteros. The most common items are plastic bottles. Among the reckless activities that have long endured are unplanned building projects, the cutting of trees, and the quarrying of mountains.

Rain, like all other natural phenomena, is something we expect to happen every year for a certain period of time. And we know what happens when we get so much of it, when life is seriously compromised. And this eventuality, we know, happens year after year. And until we encounter it directly, we do not pay attention to it, like losing our close family members due to calamity or the loss of our very own properties which we labored and invested in for years.

It is difficult for both our mountain and urban settlers, whose vulnerability is even more pronounced during this crisis, as they deal with crisis after crisis. Not only as flooding occurs, but even in the anticipatory period preceding a flood and during the cleanup and recovery process, they experience stress on several fronts. Flooding can damage property, destroy homes, create an economic burden, and cause emotional hardship.

A number of emotions, including anxiety, fear, rage, frustration, sadness, and grief, can be experienced by people affected by flooding. It is normal to experience trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, depression or angry moods, and heightened feelings of anxiety for people who experienced traumatic events, such as flooding. And I hope they will have much needed help to address their psycho-social needs, to ensure that they receive timely information, have their basic needs met and are trained to watch for signs that someone is struggling to cope.

Anything in excess is an undesirable occurrence. For flood, the excess water is beyond what we need. For our plants and animals, and for our trees, we have more than enough water. And trees, beyond their ability, can no longer carry such enormous amount of water. Or simply put, the declining number of trees has reduced the ability to consume such massive liters of water. And then water goes down to lowland areas, thus affecting people's lives and properties.

The economic deprivation, a long-term consequence of flooding, due to loss of cattle, farm crops, damage to food stores, and damage to industries or shops, is causing such misery. In our tourism industry, floods also cause negative effects as travelers are more likely to avoid flood-damaged regions. Tourist attractions may be irreparably damaged.

With the long-term effect comes long-term mitigating measures to cushion the impact of floods. Calling our concerned disaster agencies, policy makers for their relentless efforts to find solutions. Likewise, a general call for us to be responsible for the environment. Baby steps from within, like proper disposal of trash, creates ripples in solving this serious and perennial concern.


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