The Aftermath of Typhoon Tisoy (Kammuri) in the Philippines

The Philippines due to its geographical location has always suffered from the destruction brought about by many typhoons within a year. In 2014 as with the years passed, our country was hit by Typhoon Glenda which killed hundreds of individuals and caused extreme damage in the entire country.

This time again, during the first week of December, we have experienced the same strength and intensity with Typhoon Tisoy (Kammuri) last December 2. However, weeks prior to its landfall, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA), as well as all local and barangay officials did their responsibility of calling on the attention of everyone. Families and residences, establishments and offices in dangerous zones voluntarily left their houses for their safety while others still opted not to. Precautions and necessary preparations before the onslaught of the typhoon were done including the opening of many evacuation centers, food  distribution, relief center, health assistance,etc.

On a personal note, our community here in Sabang, Naga City which is also a low-area opened the hall and some rooms in the school to receive 14 families evacuees.  Reaching more than fifty persons, including some infants, children, youth and elderly and not anymore counting the fathers left behind to keep watch the house the whole night. I remember one elderly who was unknown to me knocked early that afternoon, asking for the whole family to be received anytime the typhoon would hit us. While other families secured at once in our place the little properties they have. In less than an hour that late night, family by family started to come, with some babies, small children, youth and adult alike…some were all wet and others arrived empty handed. From nine in the evening until the next day, typhoon Tisoy tried to threaten us with its natural force, super heavy rains, floods and strong winds and without electricity. Purposely, a generator was temporarily used an hour to facilitate the coming and going of some family members. Surprisingly, that short moment with light, all the children were gathered in the hall, very much alive and animated as our postulants played with them. Instantly, their laughter and voices were trying to calm down the anxieties of the adults, so preoccupied of what was happening in reality just like anyone else. While  the evacuees were trying to settle down, comforting one another, we ,too, the sisters also went out our way to meet them, talk to them, let them feel welcomed, being present to them and create an atmosphere of a family. In fact, we, too could hardly sleep for rain also entered some areas of the convent… Awake and in prayer.  Our sisters in Daraga community here in Bicol also have their own stories to tell most especially with the young dormitorians . Classes in all levels were suspended almost a week for recovery and restoration period. It also took many days before electricity was made available. Government helps continue on through the barangay and other social service like feeding program, housing assistance, health support, etc.

Typhoon Tisoy has placed us momentarily at the center of the social media…revealing its aftermath while touching many generous hearts to help those greatly affected,  the least, the lost and the last…our poor brothers and sisters…we are displaced in moments of calamities but never disgraced because of our firm faith. The typhoon left temporarily our people homeless but never without hope. Our faith as Filipino is unwavering…Surely, we have God at that moment, but come to think of it, God undoubtedly always have the Filipino especially our faith, in high and lows. Our gratitude beyond words for the many helps that comes to us.

Amavel Ortinero, aci