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SENDONG EXPOSES PHILIPPINES’ LACK OF DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: EXPATS

TYPHOON Sendong also known as ‘Washi’ battered the Mindanao region of the Philippines, killing over one thousand people and leaving more than 370,000 homeless. The southern port cities of Cagayan De Oro and Iligan bore the brunt of the disaster and suffered most fatalities.

As the government agencies continue their search for likely survivors, various international organisations and communities have been sending donations and relief materials to the victims who are currently living in temporary shelters across the country. Qatar Tribune’s Ailyn Agonia spoke to some Philippine expatriates in Qatar to get their reactions to the incident and the subsequent steps taken by the government of their home country. Excerpt: I SALUTE GOVERNMENT EMERGENCY RESPONSE ACTIVITIES EErriicc PPaaddiillllaa FFeerrnnaannddeezz,, Philippine Muslim Federation & Davao Muslim Qatar Adviser The typhoon has dealt a devastating blow on the Filipinos in general and the people of Davao Oriental in particular. However, I am happy with the quick response of the Philippine government to the situation. The government and its agencies are doing well in taking care of the displaced people.

The help they have rendered so far is amazing. The typhoon has shown that the Philippine government still has a lot to do to better the lives of the people of Mindanao. The place should not only be remembered when calamity occurs. I want to appeal to the government to speed up action in providing necessary assistance to the people at the evacuation camps. Those people need proper healthcare attention in order to prevent outbreak of diseases at the temporary shelters.

Moreover, there is the need to look into ways the survivors can be relocated to more comfortable places.

TYPHOON WASHI BRINGS UNQUANTIFIABLE DESTRUCTION MMaarriibbeell BBaarrcceelloonnaa, Front Office Supervisor The destruction brought by Typhoon Sendong was heartbreaking and unquantifiable.

More than a thousand people are still missing while several thousands are displaced. Although this was a natural disaster that may not be otherwise forestalled, the government should make adequate provisions for an emergency like this. While I sympathise with the victims of the calamity, I also appreciate the unity and compassion the Filipinos have shown to the affected people. I was overwhelmed by the quantity of donations that came in within a few days of the incident.

I hope various world agencies will rally round the people to get them back to their normal lives.

The victims have suffered both psychological and physical traumas.

THE RELIEF FUNDS SHOULD BE JUDICIOUSLY USED RRyyee AAssaakkuurraa,, Hotel staff The tropical storm ‘Washi’ had both catastrophic and devastative impact on the entire Philippines. The country and its people faced losses that may take them many years to overcome.

The typhoon brought a massive destruction with a somewhat lasting effect on Mindanao region, especially Cagayan De Oro. Many people died, agriculture and infrastructure were damaged and many other things got affected. More than 300,000 people have lost their houses and other property to the disaster.

Meanwhile, the $500 million the World Bank has released to the Philippine government’s recovery and reconstruction efforts will help bring succour to the survivors. I just hope the money is judiciously spent on the affected people. I would also like to encourage people to conserve our forests and be responsible citizens. I believe this will assist in minimising the effect of such occurrences.

PROMOTE ECO-FRIENDLY POLICIES TO AVOID NATURE’S FURY KKaattee VVaallddeezz DDee--GGuuiiaa, Employee Typhoon Sendong has brought new challenges to the Philippine government. It has revealed that local government should have a stable disaster preparedness plan. This may also include modern equipment in PAG-ASA (Philippine weather agency) to accurately monitor natural calamities. Secondly, the governments at all levels should have rescue and retrieval systems.

Lastly, national and local governments should be vigilant in taking care of our environment, especially on issues like illegal logging and mining. Sustainable development should be promoted and implemented.

GOVERNMENT MUST EQUIP WEATHER AGENCY FOR BETTER PERFORMANCE RReexx FFaabbeelllloonn, Admin Staff While I commend the efforts of our government in extending assistance to the victims of typhoon Sendong as well as the love and spirit of unity demonstrated by Filipinos abroad, I believe that the catastrophe could have have been avoided if the authorities looked into the pressing issues of the country such as the illegal logging and mining activities going on in most parts of the Philippines. It is high time the government put an end to these illegal activities which have been destroying our beautiful environment and killing thousands of our compatriots.

I also hope the Aquino administration will carefully asses the capability of our weather agency to provide accurate information. The people of the country rely on this agency to literally save their lives.

However, it failed again either because its equipment is obsolete or the personnel do not have the necessary expertise.

THIS IS A FAILURE ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT AAnnnnaa LLiimm, Secretary It breaks my heart to see my compatriots suffer so much just because there has been a failure on the part of the authorities to prevent such situation from arising. This is not the first time thousands had been killed due to typhoon or heavy rains. It means that the country does not have appropriate disaster mitigation mechanisms. I want the government to find ways of preventing such occurrence or minimising its impacts whenever it happens. Meanwhile, I am impressed by the positive response from Filipinos abroad to the distress call of the victims of the unfortunate incident.

Filipino communities from different parts of the world have shown concern to the plight of their compatriots.

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