The climate is changing. We in Tacloban are living witnesses of the climate’s macabre leap.
Scientists have attested that climate change is fueling stronger and more powerful typhoons classified as category five typhoons. These typhoons, seemed to have been made from hell, would normally ravage the Philippine typhoon ring every 50-60 years. But now, they are markedly doing an annual stopover. Pablo (2012) and Yolanda (2013), strengthen the postulate that this year, another monster might destroy another city. Mother Nature is providing us with obvious signs and patterns that we have to understand and deal with.
For a fact, we may not be able to wholly reverse the effects of climate change given the sustainable growth of urbanization, but, we can decelerate it. While doing this, we should also leap towards intensive mass education on disaster and calamity awareness. On an average citizen’s level, this is one of the most doable preventive measures. As a victim city of a great typhoon, I feel we should initialize and pioneer this.
By saying mass education, this means the inclusion of disaster and calamity awareness in school’s lessons. In grade school, the apt subject for this type of lesson would probably be Science. Classroom lectures and discussions on disaster causes and effects and courses of action during actual tragedy, are recommendable to allow the students understand and put to heart nature’s ruinous U-turn. This will also help the students value the rationale of cascaded procedures in case the actual calamity comes. Aside from the routine of classroom lectures, application should also be done through frequent and random drills facilitated by teachers and other school officials. Drills should allow students to execute the best actions and procedures during crisis. This will help students experience the feel of a calamity, so that come actual disaster time, they will react accordingly.
DSWD and PAGASA should work hand-in-hand to train and educate the teachers as well. The two organizations should ensure that these teachers are fully equipped with knowledge to avoid critically erroneous teachings. This is also the best time to reactivate our dormant barangay officials. The government needs to tap them and oblige them to propagate preventive measures to their subordinates especially those who are illiterate and cannot afford schooling. I remembered, before the typhoon, that many barangay officials have poorly reacted towards warning reports of the media, resulting to the historic number of casualties.
This is no one-man effort. This will not work out without the cooperation of everyone. Let us stop blaming people already. I guess it is about time to stop dining on ashes and rubbing salt on our wounds. The best action now is to recover, understand and make use of the learning we acquired from the Yolanda experience. Let us please move on and brace ourselves for a rougher ride with nature. If we comply with the information we are spoon-fed with, the life that we save maybe our own.