Despite the preparedness assured by the different agencies of our country, particularly the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council or NDRRMC (formerly known as NDCC), DOST-PAG-ASA, Philippine Coast Guard, DPWH, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education and CHED, Super Typhoon Juan seems to have beaten our best as it still manages to leave some part of our lands devastated and severely damaged. Being the first typhoon to have reached 200+ KPH over the past 2 years, this super typhoon have definitely reminded us that when the force of the nature comes down falling to us, no matter how prepared we are, destruction and damages, devastation will always be manifested.
Typhoon Juan (Internationally known as Megi) entered our area of responsibility 1:00 am of Saturday, October 16, 2010. His entrance marked the alert for our country as it is categorized as a Super Typhoon, with wind strength of 225 KPH for its center winds and gustiness of 260 KPH. All meteorological agencies, except for our PAG-ASA predicted that the typhoon would hit Cagayan when it makes its landfall for the following days. However, PAG-ASA was right when they said that the typhoon will hit the land masses of Isabela, at around 10 am to 12 noon of Monday, October 18, 2010. They were dead right because the typhoon made its landfall in Isabela at exactly 11:25 am of that day. After which, the agency predicted more that it will exit in the provinces of Ilocos Region. But a twist happened in the course of travel of this typhoon as it slowly shifted its direction for exit, aiming now at Pangasinan. So likely, parts of the country that have taken the typhoon’s strength head on were Cagayan, Isabela, Ilocos and Pangasinan. All of these countries summed up the damages left by this typhoon after ravaging our lands. The damage was estimated to be over 1 billion pesos, contributing to such is the field of agriculture, infrastructure and education. With its unprecedented strength, the typhoon also caused 10 casualties, deaths of which are attributed to drowning, being slammed by the falling trees and being hit by lightning. If not for the mountain ranges it hit when it made its landfall, the typhoon could have been more destructive as it posses strength like no other.
We should be proud that our preparedness has lessened the extent of the damages dealt to us by the attack of this calamity. But we must keep in mind that we have still experienced great lost, not only in properties, but also in lives. Let us not be complacent as calamities such as typhoon Juan could leave Philippines as a devastated land.
Photograph: Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA (www.guardian.co.uk)