Monday, June 23, 2008

The recurring tragedy of typhoons

A relative of a ferry passenger cries as she awaits the latest news on the sunken vessel.

In a tragedy that appears distressingly familiar year after year, a strong typhoon codenamed "Frank" lashes out at the Philippines, leaving a wide trail of destruction. About 220 dead and counting, 100,000 people displaced, millions in crops damaged, and a ferry carrying 700 people sunk. To date the fatalities in the sunken ship remain unaccounted for. Reportedly among the passengers were 31 infants and 20 children. Oftentimes human folly even exacerbates the tragedy, as it is now in question why the ferry was allowed to sail in the face of great risk to its passengers, while severe flooding again puts to account the massive denudation of forests.
Most of the 180 villages in Iloilo city, which was among the hardest hit, remain submerged, and it would take months upon months to recover from the economic and social tragedy that this typhoon has wrought, even as we brace ourselves for the next one.

When the wrath of nature strikes, no one is spared, as even the recent earthquake tragedy in Sichuan shows. No one can understand the end-all of natural calamities, and the ultimate lessons nature imparts, even as we continually ignore most of them. We can only reach out in comfort to our afflicted and grieving compatriots as we join hands in picking up the pieces from a swift but terrible storm, even as we pray for them, and lift our intentions to Him who can calm all storms.

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