Typhoon Fengshen

June 26, 2008

Typhoon Frank as more commonly known in the Philippines.

That typhoon really dealt a lot of damage to the Philippines. Lives were broken – I figured as much.

Somehow, I can say that it’s not anybody’s fault. Nature can go against us if it wants.

“We can’t blame the victim this time.”

But neither can we blame the owner or operator of the MV. PAGASA is not at fault, too. They did their job good enough. And as how the MV is posed right now, and it’s almost by the shore, it just feels like… It’s somehow their time.

‘Cause it was like the typhoon danced luring them to travel and collide head-on with them. Before the ship left the alert level was signal no. 1. Weather forecasts said that the storm has changed its direction away to somewhere away from the Philippines. So the ship left the docks. Then, suddenly it came back even stronger raising the signals to three – the ship’s already in the middle of the sea.

“The first day passed. There was a major battle nearby, and a number of wounded were brought back to the camp. The dead soldiers were replaced by others, and life went on. Death doesn’t change anything, the boy thought.

“’You could have died later on,’ a soldier said to the body of one of his companions. ‘You could have died after peace had been declared. But, in any case, you were going to die.’”

-Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

Some towns in the Philippines now seems like they’re ghost towns. Like, it’s already the middle of the day but you can almost see no living being around. Everywhere it’s all ruins, ruins, and ruins. Remains of stuff that was in the path of the storm. Most will start again from scratch.

But what’s worse than that is that the MV Princess of the Stars actually contains 22,000lbs. of Endosulfan – a chemical banned in countries which are members of the European Union; highly restricted in a lot of countries; and can only be used in DOLE and Del Monte’s pineapple plantation. That’s not it; the cargo is actually in the part of the MV that sunk down to the ground – more than a 100 ft. below sea level. Which means it’s even tougher to extract. The fireproof container of the chemicals can hold for a while, but if it stays there long enough, some leaking can occur. This leaking will mostly have a domino effect – chemical leaks to the sea, fishes gets contaminated, fishes die, some fish survives but man gets to eat them, man dies. The chemical is a strong type chemical. The search and rescue operation has been halted, temporarily, so that the divers can be checked. No news yet on when the operation will continue.

Here in our place, I thank God big time. I thank Him for not letting us suffer the typhoon. I thank Him for keeping us safe. I thank Him for keeping us alive. I thank Him for a lot. Our place is just a walk from the sea but I wasn’t able to sea any major damage – only the temporary cutting of the power supply; which was actually good to prevent more damages. Really, I want to thank Him big time. Now I just hope that, somehow, everybody will move on after this tragedy.

“’The land was ruined, and I had to find some other way to earn a living. So now I’m a camel driver. But that disaster taught me to understand the word of Allah: people need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.

“’We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.’”

-Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

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