Manila: The arrival of the eighth tropical depression in the Philippines, expected to bring more rains, floods, and landslides following two typhoon-triggered devastations that killed a hundred and submerged 60 to 80 per cent of two thirds of the country in 15 days, could further galvanise the unusual spirit of resiliency shown by weather-beaten Filipinos, sources said.
“Expect more tales of woes and creativity among Filipinos when tropical depression Helen, seen 600 kilometres east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora, northern Luzon on Monday, could whip up with more devastation in already devastated northern Luzon,” said Pastor Alfred Crespo, also a socio-political analyst.
At the height of the rains last week, “children kept swimming on flooded streets and major thoroughfare as if on a picnic; people kept smiling on video and praying in private as if they had received a blessing with flooded homes; people created floating vehicles made of old refrigerators, big plastic bottles, and plastic basins, in lieu of rubber boats, to move people on flooded streets,” observed Crespo.
Several foreigners posted their photos on social networking sites, which showed them playing on flooded streets, saying, “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”
The Filipinos, they said, have a “water-proof spirit.”
All this happened when Typhoon Saola and Typhoon Haikui brought rain even as they stayed stationary, away from northern Luzon before exiting to Taiwan and China respectively.
Local government leaders, however, should not waste time ordering everyone to work early and alert residents on coastal and low-lying areas, and at the foot of mountains, to prepare for evacuation in case it is needed, said Defence undersecretary Benito Ramos, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).
“We want less number of fatalities and destruction. Many affected areas have not yet recovered,” said Ramos.
Local authorities were also told to be strict in implementing an order not to allow evacuees from returning to already devastated areas.
“A lot of them have returned to their homes. The effect of the storm might catch up with them when they are back in heavily affected areas,” said Ramos.
“Alert levels will be aired on radio and TV and to people who are in charge of their communities,” said Ramos.
Tropical depression “Helen” seen 600 kilometres east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora in Luzon, was seen moving west northwest at 9 kilometres per hour with winds moving at 65km/h and gustiness of 80km/h near the centre, the Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said
Helen’s estimated rainfall amount was 10mm–20mm per hour (heavy – intense), with a 350km diameter, Pagasa said.
Helen has not yet made landfall in northern Luzon but it could enhance the southwest monsoon to bring rain over southern, central and northern Luzon, including central Philippines and the western section of the southern Philippines, Pagasa said.
About 21 typhoons devastate the Philippines every year.