Adding Insult to the Injury

The sun is up again, the skies blue once more and it seems that the planet has begun moving on from the storms. Although, it seems to have moved a bit too far because of the heat being just a bit too much. However, let’s not talk weather this time. Let’s talk about how the local government responds to the tragedies that the world is trying to get through.

Homes, properties, and resources have been lost due to the typhoons and floods. A lot of communities were left with close to nothing and most of them does not have much to look forward to.

FM Romualdez on relief operationThe basic response to such tragedies are relief operations – be it from the government or the private sector. These include giving out groceries, clothing, and other necessities that would, most probably, not be available to the afflicted. Our community was hardly affected by the floods. We did have flooding during the rains and afterwards but it was very much minor compared to what other communities have suffered. Nevertheless, ours was one of those that the government attended to.

A few days ago, we received goods from either a senator or a city councilor. (The people here can’t seem to agree which.) The package was of rice, noodles, and canned sardines. But this didn’t make the people happy or as thankful as one who received some aid should have been. However, I can’t blame them. Neither can I blame myself. I might sound like I’m simply complaining. We may be called ungrateful but the goods we received might as well be taken as an insult to our situation. We may not be rich here but we intend to live decent lives and eat decent food.

I can say all those things because the rice we received was almost too close to inedible. It’s possible that the rice came from one of those NFA warehouses where they store rice imported at a very unreasonable price reeking of corruption and injustice to the masses. And, was it from two years ago already? It’s no good cooking and eating it pure. Even a 1:2 blend with commercial rice wouldn’t suffice to conceal its taste and smell.

Or, maybe, the person can’t care less about how the people will react to the goods received so long as he/she can have the claim to have given out relief goods to “aid the victims of the disasters”.

Today, we received more “tickets” to one of those operations. This time, it’s from the district representative. But it doesn’t look so good either. The sort of “informant” came around here this morning giving out the tickets. He also told us that “the goods are ready but we can’t start because the congressman is not yet yet here”. You know where he is? As we heard from the local radio news, he is at some subdivision enjoying the fiesta.

So, as of this writing, it’s already past lunch. People have begun flocking to the gym to line up for the goods. I expect they’d be the same goods, though, the amount may vary. We may receive the same kinds of things as that last time that the he gave out goods, plus the cloth bag with his name, title, and face printed on it. But that would be a good thing because the guy knows how to give decent food.

Update (February 12, 2011, 9:30pm): We did get the same things as from before: about twice the rice that the senator or councilor gave, twice the noodles, and half the canned sardines. And, yes, in a bag with the name, title, and face of the congressman in it. And it was decent.

But it’s not all good. The gym was too crowded and hot. Outside, it was even hotter. But that didn’t stop the people from staying and waiting for the representative. People started coming back at around 4 pm. It was a long wait in the heat. As an aftermath, someone was rushed to the hospital after an attack stroke.

Update (February 14, 2011): I still can’t get a final word as to whether it was the senator or the city councilor who sent us the goods first mentioned.

Update (February 17, 2011, 5:30pm): It can’t exactly be called a final word but someone informed me that it was actually both of them – the senator and the city councilor, that is.

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Blog Action Day: Ondoy, Pepeng, Climate Change and the Philippines

The Philippines, more specifically in the north, has recently been devastated by two typhoons that came after each other. Typhoon Ondoy, called Ketsana internationally, gave the north heavy rains and flashfloods. Typhoon Pepeng worsened the damage caused by Ondoy. While Ondoy left the country after a while, Pepeng stayed longer almost not moving. Typhoon Quedan came along but it was good that it didn’t stay and left the Philippines quick.

Both Ondoy and Pepeng left huge marks in their unwanted visit to the Philppines.

Ondoy was there to start the devastation. Crops, houses, communities, and worst, lives were destroyed. Almost everyone who was affected by the storm was like, “We’re back to zero.” And, as if that wasn’t enough, typhoon Pepeng came along. It didn’t just pass by, it lingered and stayed for a while – as if it doesn’t want to leave the Philippines. This is when the residents of Northern Philippines was able to say, “This is worse than going back to zero. It’s like, back to negative.”

Well, they can’t be blamed if they can say so. They have no more houses to go back to. Prices of commodities soared while the people can’t afford to buy anything. Farmers lost their crops and their produce.

If there is anything good that came out of this, it is that we saw everyone trying to help each other. Networks, companies, and the such was able to forget about defeating each other and came together to send relief to the unfortunate ones. Professionals were able to forget their professionals fees and went out of their comfort zones to vist the people who have been destroyed by the typhoons.

But how does these typhoons connect to the climate change now evident hear on earth?

This year’s Blog Action Day focuses on the talk on “Climate Change.” A lot of people are now taking action pushing for world leaders to do the right thing this December at Copenhagen where they will convene for a new cliamte protocol that will continue what the Kyoto Protocol has started.

Climate change can affect us in ways we wouldn’t like. One of these is extreme weather conditions. Yes, it is supposed to be the wet season in the Philippines butOndoy and Pepeng was just too much. Rains and flooding went way past the usual level they reach. In some areas, floods were deeper than a person. Most people had to stay in, at least, the second floor of their houses, if they have one. If they don’t, they had to swim, yes swim, to the nearest one.

Since rain records began in 1766, the amount of winter rainfall in England and Wales has risen. Over the last 45 years it has also become heavier; in 2000, UK flooding was the worst for 270 years in some areas. Flood damage now costs Britain about £1 billion a year.

Globally, climate change means that extreme weather events – like floods, droughts and tropical storms – will become more frequent and dangerous.

Leptospirosis is almost an epidemic in the north. This is due to the floods that hasn’t been drained. It is evident that climate change is also bound to spread diseases. Malaria and dengue will be two of those that is bound to worsen with this.

Climate change is also bound to increase living costs. Water supply will decrease. Plants might not be able to survive the heat and the drought will definitely be difficult to combat when the supply of potable water is also short. In turn, the supply of food, vegetables, fruits, and even the meat, will not be able to meet its demand. When the supply is way lower than the demand, prices are bound to increase.

These are just some of the devastating effects of climate change. More effects of climate change will be evident sooner or later. Global warming is also bound to destroy all the fun we are currently enjoying here on earth.

We can just hope that everything will go right at Copenhagen this December 2009.