I would just like to openly profess how proud I am of some dear friends who at the moment are right smack in the middle of Odette’ wrecked earth. Instead of crying out in panic and resulting to blame culture, they have instead chosen to face and fight their way into what she has brought upon them.
Their message to everyone from out of ground zero spells out a defiant spirit worthy of praise and totally devoid of that much-used victim card: Yes, we need whatever help… no, we will not leave where we are. We love this place and we will help in rebuilding it out of the ruins.
Ironically, while everyone had earlier been made aware of the incoming tropical depression, it might perhaps be that the level of everyone’s preparation (including that of local and national governments) may not have been enough. This might have only been realized too late when the actual severity of the typhoon proved much stronger. In short, no one expected Odette to be another Yolanda, plain and simple. Some friends on location have even joked online for Odette to ‘bring it on’ right before she struck. When she finally did however, it proved to be a different story.
To compound the destruction that she had wrought over parts of Mindanao and the Visayas regions, it appears that voices from the ground are solidly one. According to those whom I know hailing from Cebu, Surigao del Sur and Siargao, assistance had been a bit slow. In the major city of Cebu even, an extreme lack of police and military presence plus local government have been reported during the aftermath of Odette. It has even been posted online that, not only had there been any form of immediate assistance which was the normal procedure, maintaining crowd control was likewise not observed.
One positive note from the whole tragic affair however is that, while Odette may have equally been, if not more staggering in both scope and degree of destruction than Yolanda, the spirit of the people during this present time, have become less identifiable with that stunned look that had already become the compatible mark of Yolanda’s. While it grossly unfair to compare, the thing is that, even as logistics often fall short of expectations, the will to be defiant and committed to standing after a fall is still the most noteworthy trait at times like these.
While we watch from the outside, we help whatever we can. This may be Christmas but it matters not whether one is Christian or not. In many little ways, as with any other time, it is the time to celebrate our humanity as well.
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