Weathering the storm

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez - The Freeman

I was in Metro Manila when the recent weather disturbance Aghon was in its final days inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility. It was a rainy and windy day that made the once-lively area around Mother Ignacia, Quezon City, quieter than ever. Despite this gloomy circumstance, my husband and I embarked on a food adventure on foot. We wanted to find a coffee house that was not in Cebu, a new experience for both of us. When we did finally reach our destination, it was the journey that gave us the flu.

While that experience is minor, others suffered greatly. In several provinces in Luzon, they experienced floods anew. It was a scenario that had not been seen for months after the dry season. Photos of trees toppled down and rivers overflowing were also seen. Several residents had to be evacuated to higher ground to save themselves from what seemed to be a strong storm.

We were warned of El Niño's aftermath by no less than the state weather bureau. All of us were told that after the extreme heat, intense rain would arrive. This rain would not be gradual as we wished it would be. It is set to bring forth a downpour, probably affecting urbanized areas. The ideal scenario would be to have a slow and steady pace, just enough to fill up our aquifers and water sources. At this point, there are also some things beyond our control.

This is the risk that we have to take for turning green spaces into urban areas. There is little to no passageway for water to rise from where it is. The trees that once were receivers of this blessing from the heavens are no longer there. Water cannot seep into concrete and cement; we are bound to have another flood nightmare.

For Cebu City, the local government said that it has doubled its efforts to prepare for La Niña. The acting mayor has continued to support its task force against flooding in the hopes of not repeating the terrible scenarios of the past. Last year, there were cars floating in a mall's parking lot. That was not something to be proud of, really.

Other local government units should do the same. There must be a step ahead in calculating risks for the storms that will arrive. Like they say, it is better to be safe than sorry. While we do welcome the idea of rain and the cool wind it brings, we need to also prepare for the worst scenario. We have seen this multiple times already in different forms. Being formulaic is an understatement, but we must not let our guard down.

The rest of the week must be better than what it was. We hope that weather conditions will be favorable to us and even those who need rain the most, the farmers. They must not worry about losing their crops because of the rain.

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