By: Jireh Bautista (CEV)
The Philippines, being located along the Pacific typhoon belt, is a popular typhoon path, with around 20 typhoons passing through each year. Even though Filipinos are notorious for smiling in the face of adversity and appearing to have gained resilience, the effects of so-called super typhoons are impossible to ignore. And the recent super typhoon Odette lived up to its name and did not fall short.
Cebu City and the rest of Central and Eastern Visayas felt Odette’s strong winds and their terrifying whistles at signal no. 4 on the night of December 16. It resulted in a widespread power outage, leaving inhabitants in the dark for the rest of the night. The horrible scenery the next morning, on the other hand, was a complete shock. Multiple electric posts blocked the roads and countless metal roofing were scattered everywhere. Fallen trees have occupied the streets and buildings too were not left undamaged. Window glasses were shattered and even strong metal structures were crumpled. Everyone was trying to salvage whatever was left of their homes and a lot of families were sent to evacuation centers, especially the ones who were affected by flooding. The aftermath was so devastating and was reminiscent of super typhoon Ruping when it hit the city back in 1990.
This event may be so heartbreaking but the real struggle surfaced moments later. There was no electricity and no water from the faucets. There was no phone signal and no internet so distant communication was impossible. The terror in the city was palpable, with enormous lines at gas stations, water stations, and ATMs.
To collect a few litres of water, you’d have to wait almost a full day! Basic requirements grocery store shelves were bare, and cashless transactions were unavailable. Hotels were fully booked, and most businesses were unable to operate due to the extensive damage and were forced to close.
The havoc brought by Odette and its impact caught the city dwellers off guard. Cebu City alone has an estimated residential damage of 1.7B. And as of writing this article, most parts of the city still have no water and electricity. The struggles mentioned are still real even more than a week later.
Typhoon Odette taught everyone a lesson to take news of upcoming typhoons seriously and then prepare as much as one could. But on the much brighter side, this calamity has taught the lesson of compassion and cooperation. Some malls and other establishments offered free charging and some condos with generators opened. Different ones contributed amounts too through FTM to help out brothers and sisters in Christ to repair their damaged homes and churches, and to provide drinking water. It is during a crisis like this can we learn to put into action our compassion for other people that despite being in the middle of scarcity yourself, you may also extend help to those who are in greater need.
There are still a lot of things to be grateful to God for. We should still thank God for His protection and provision. God is still good and we will rise from this calamity soon as we always do. Because our God who’s done it before is faithful. And He will never fail. Not this time. Never.