Friday, November 15, 2013

Super typhoon Yolanda’s aftermath: The case with blame game and dysfunctional functionalism

The aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that
has hit the Philippines on November 8, 2013.

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in moment of crisis, do nothing."--Dante Aleghieri in his Inferno


Exactly a week after the world’s strongest typhoon for the year 2013 has hit the central Visayas region and neighboring provinces in the Philippines, people from some of these hardest hit areas (most particularly Tacloban city) were angered by the fact that the lousy response and lacking of organized system from the national government resulted to the delay in the distribution of aids to meet their daily basic of necessities. Days before Yolanda made its historic landfall, as it breaks record to be the strongest storm to make landfall in recorded history, in the small town of Guiuan in the southern stretch of eastern Samar, Philippine president Benigno Aquino announced that his government was all the way prepared and ready to deal with Yolanda.

Preparation, in my opinion, is a two-way street. It is to anticipate the incoming danger and to apply precautionary measures that could negate or lessen the effect or impact it can potentially create. There should be Plan A, B, and C for this, in case Plan A failed to work.  Another way to prepare is to be focused on the aftermath of the danger.

If the roads and bridges are totally destroyed making it impossible for supplies to reach their destinations on time by land, then sending them through air will be the best option. The use of helicopters will be the key, reaching in as many and as far as the most remote of these places. If ever there’s not a portion of a land left safe enough to make landings, then these choppers will be dropping off their loads of life-sustaining bags to the ground where survivors have long waited in desperation for the help to come. It’s all about FFD, not a Find, Fix, and Destroy as it usually be, but a Find, Fix, and Deliver.

This is a war by which we will become the foe ourselves depending on the way we react to such a situation caused by such a force of nature coming to destroy us and our dear land. The president, being the commander in chief, must have declared war against and used all the machinery of the government especially the armed forces to reach its full function for its own advantage. Our noble soldiers will have fought with much pride and honor as in the actual combat in the battlefield, except that in that fight they will be saving lives instead of taking them.

No one can say that, at this point of time, everything in Tacloban city is under control: There’s looting, chaos, and desperation among the survivors everywhere. Foods and water in some areas are still a scarcity despite the flooding in of aids from other countries willing to help. For the survivors of this storm-ravaged city, time is of the essence to get the most basic of their daily needs: Food, water, shelter, and medicine. We cannot make them wait too long to fill their empty stomachs, quench their thirsts, and heal their wounds.

Blaming anyone won’t help the present situation in Tacloban but tolerating the lapses in the long run neither would. Some people must be held accountable for the lapses committed so as to prevent things like these from happening again in the future. Yolanda exposed the notion of how well prepared or not the Philippine government was in dealing with such a catastrophe of this magnitude. The country’s disaster preparedness has failed at some point; the disaster response was as well disorganized and slow. The Aquino administration lacks the leadership to assist the situation with great efficiency and speed. 

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