Newsbyte by Raissa Robles
The most vivid descriptions of Typhoon Yolanda (a.k.a. Haiyan) came from TV journos Jiggy Manicad and Ted Failon.
Manicad, whose colleague Love Añover took shelter inside a Cathedral in Leyte that had its roof ripped away by the storm, described the ordeal as like being inside a washing machine.
Here is a video that he shared –
Failon, who was also in his home province of Leyte, said “nilamon ng dagat ang Tacloban”. It was not just a a storm surge, he emphasized.
Here is his video:
The catastrophe forces a serious rethink of disaster-preparedness policies.
For instance, where can you run for cover if you live on an island that would be eaten up by the sea during such storms which – as the oceans warm up – are predicted to be more frequent in number and more devastating?
The good news is that according to University of the Philippines Professor Mahar Lagmay, proponent of Project Noah, disaster risk maps will be available by next year and these will be location specific.
But this also make it urgent to pass THE LONG-STALLED LAND USE LAW.
President Benigno Aquino did warn in a televised address to the nation on the eve of Typhoon Yolanda that storm surges would affect certain coastal areas. The water from the sea could surge up to six meters high, he said.
I must confess that the “six meters high” he mentioned did not register in my brain at all. I guess because Filipinos are used to thinking in feet and inches. Perhaps next time, the President’s speech writers could simplify such warnings in images that we can all understand.
For instance, six meters is 19.6 feet. The minimum clearance from floor to ceiling for each floor of a building structure is 2.4 meters or eight feet, architect Franklyn Santos told me.
Using such data, that meant waters from the sea could totally engulf a two-storey building and if you’re on the third floor, the waters could still be chest-deep where you are. Horrors.