Locally she was called, Florita it was however referred to internationally as tropical typhoon Bilis. Florita or Bilis the strongest of rains swept through Northern Philippines leaving 28 people dead, 18 others injured and ten missing. The figures may have varied as a write but it too triggered major landslides and damages properties .
Many were caught in the middle of the storm. I myself, being right at the heart of a bustling city that was typhoon free – missed all the action. I can only imagine how worried some may have been. The students must have been more than glad to hear that news that classes were suspended. Only to realize how boring life could be outside campus.
Florita has long exited the country. It’s back to school and back to work for many. Business as usual and then some for we are left with the following big numbers:2,451 families – whose homes were destroyed by strong winds, heavy rains and floodsP159 million – worth of damaged property, agriculture and other infrastructures91,542 – number of evacueesThe numbers and the damage are very alarming. What should be more alarming however is the fact that many were surprised that a typhoon could cause such damage. Which leads us to state the obvious – we are still generally unprepared for disasters year in and year out. We have long lived with the fact that typhoon seasons come and go.
Hearing yet another storm signal warning over the radio or TV is not news to us. We expected rains and strong winds alright but no one expected it to whip the provinces the way it did. Now then, will the Florita experience make any difference? Now that the sun’s almost out for most parts of Nothern Luzon, can we start seeing things clearly? When will we begin to realize that we ought to put premium on being literally and figuratively prepared for the rainy days? We can never stop the rains to come but we can keep the death toll and damages down.