Thursday, October 1, 2009

Living dangerously

Year, after year, after year.

RP to evacuate by force those in storm's path
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine police said Thursday they will forcibly evacuate residents refusing to leave their homes in the direct path of an approaching strong typhoon.

The order for a "pre-emptive evacuation" was handed down by Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro "in line with our zero casualty target", said national police spokesman Leopoldo Bataoil....

"We will first appeal on them to leave but if we see that they are in immediate danger, we will forcibly carry them to evacuation centers," he said.
I caught the explanation of Secretary Teodoro on TV Patrol earlier tonight. He said the government will pre-emptively evacuate families especially the children to avoid further casualties. The adults who won't cooperate and elect to remain in vulnerable areas will be warned that the government could not guarantee succor when the storm comes, because of the extreme difficulty of conducting rescue operations that than cope with the expected super typhoon.

The move of Sec. Teodoro is definitely reasonable enough and deserves to be pursued in the interest of preventing another round of massive loss of lives.

At first glance one would easily deride the crazy stubbornness of people who refuse "pre-emptive evacuation", until you realize that these people choose to gamble their very lives to protect properties that took lifetimes to build. The term "washed-out" takes a new meaning these days, and it not only refers to the material aspect. Most of these people live near creeks, waterways and riverbanks that pose a clear and present danger to life and property every time typhoon comes, yet choices are severely limited for the very poor. Extremely dangerous, yes, but the daily lives of the poor are already precariously dangerous - with or without typhoons. There is always the daily epic struggle with hunger, sickness, neglect, and acts of nature. Among these, the acts of nature maybe the least feared by these poor people. One would hope that these poor people should be "forcibly carried" from grinding poverty to a life of basic decency, because they are living dangerously - year, after year, after year.

1 comment:

sunnyday said...

I thought this post was going to somewhat "ridicule" them for their apparent and (maybe to many of us) "illogical" preference to stay with and protect their belongings. But the last paragraph makes sense. I can't say that I can relate with them; I can't understand how it feels to be in their situation. I can just understand a little if I imagined myself experiencing day after day their life. Not much more to lose by risking their lives protecting what they worked so hard for -- maybe this is their way of thinking?