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Storm Signal 5 To Hit The Philippines: How People Should Prepare To Avoid Another Yolanda And Koppu Devastation

First Posted: Oct 19, 2016 05:40 PM EDT
TACLOBAN, PHILIPPINES - NOVEMBER 13: Typhoon victims are packed into a tent after typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, November 13, 2013. The Philippines has been host to a number of natural disasters but on November 8, 2013 Typhoon Haiyan hit the islands of Leyte and Samar causing catastrophic destruction. Haiyan ( also known as Yolanda ) was an exceptionally powerful cyclone that is the strongest typhoon ever recorded. Around 6,190 people were killed and as of January, 2014 bodies are still being found. According to the UN officials about 11 million people have been affected, many left homeless.

TACLOBAN, PHILIPPINES - NOVEMBER 13: Typhoon victims are packed into a tent after typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, November 13, 2013. The Philippines has been host to a number of natural disasters but on November 8, 2013 Typhoon Haiyan hit the islands of Leyte and Samar causing catastrophic destruction. Haiyan ( also known as Yolanda ) was an exceptionally powerful cyclone that is the strongest typhoon ever recorded. Around 6,190 people were killed and as of January, 2014 bodies are still being found. According to the UN officials about 11 million people have been affected, many left homeless. Credit:Paula Bronstein via Getty Images

Another storm signal 5 was raised in the Philippine Island. Filipinos are now facing grave danger once again.

I can still visualize the devastation that the Filipinos and the whole world witnessed during the November 2013 typhoon that killed thousands of Filipino lives and wrecked billions worth of properties. At the time we were at our office in Manila which was miles and islands away from the super typhoon's main landfall target, but we still felt the wrath of Yolanda. It was like doomsday. Looking at the streets from the 24th floor of our office building, we could only see flares of light from the headlights of vehicles passing by, then everything else was dark. Literally black.

What broke our hearts then was when one of our company drivers fell on his knees when he saw his niece in the national news, hanging on a tree, lifeless. The poor 10-year-old girl was not spared from the rage of the storm, and the saddest part then was that her body couldn't be recovered at once because the flood water was high and flowing so strongly, the rescuers said they couldn't sacrifice another life just to secure a little girl's corpse. A more unfortunate news came when he learned that he almost lost his parents as well when logs from the mountains started to roll out and their whole house in Tacloban (Visayas Island) crashed down because of the "log flood" that run through their town.

It was a nightmare indeed, to the point I wish it were just another fictional story. Yet, it really happened and until now, I still get those goosebumps from looking back on that tragic day.

Quick Recount of 2013's Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda Effects

Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda, as known in the Philippines, pounded into several regions of the Visayas island that listed a total death toll of over 10,000 people and caused catastrophic damage of properties that summed up to over P89 billion of cost, or over $2 million.

The said storm is the fourth biggest tropical cyclone and is the third Category 5 super typhoon to have hit the Philippine soil. It was also described as the most powerful typhoon in the world that was ever recorded.

Even if the Philippine government then claimed that the Filipinos were getting stronger and becoming more prepared in times of catastrophes, Yolanda made it clear that the effects of natural disasters are inevitable, thus people should always be alert and prepared to fight for their lives.

Typhoon Haima/Lawin

Fear among Filipino people is again sensed by the world as the menacing winds and rain of Typhoon Haima - or Lawin as named by the Philippine weather board - are currently smashing the northern part of the Philippines, where two provinces (Cagayan and Isabela) are now under storm signal number 5.

Lawin is now moving at 225 kph of winds and gustiness of up to 315 kph. Comparing it to Yolanda which had a maximum winds of up to 315 kph and gustiness of up to 380 kph, the tropical cyclone battering the Philippines at the moment is quite smaller but is reported to get bigger as it traverses the northern regions of the Luzon island.

With all the deadly typhoons that came across the Philippines, residents should already know by now how to survive amid the threats of floods and landslides brought about by another possible killer storm.

So how are we supposed to survive a super typhoon?

For the Philippines and the rest of the world to become storm-resistant or at least storm-ready during severe and erratic weather, here are some quick tips to consider:

#1 Always watch or listen to the weather news.

This should always go on top of the list. Storms are usually informed while they are still forming or when they are still miles away from landfall. Weather bulletins are always busy updating people; it is then our responsibility to watch or listen to the news for us to be aware of the current situation of our surroundings.

Keep yourselves updated on the progress of a storm condition so you can plan preparation strategies. This way, many lives and properties can be spared from the wrath of any coming storm.

#2 List down emergency hotlines and secure batteries and power banks to ensure that communication won't go out.

Emergency hotlines are your best ticket to securing your life. Floods are inevitable most especially landslides, so in case of emergencies, make sure you placed rescue team numbers or numbers of medical services, firefighters, police officers, Red Cross, your region's weather department office, and coast guard on your speed dials.

In addition, make sure you memorize all of your family members' contact numbers just in case you get separated in an unexpected happening during the storm.

Now, if you already have these numbers on your phone, secure extra batteries and power banks. Communication is crucial to make sure that everyone is safe during a raging storm.

#3 Prepare your calamity kit.

I always make sure that my box of necessities is always packed with important items that I might be needing in times of natural disasters. Here are some essential items every emergency kit should have:

Food

Food is the most important item you have to secure in your calamity kit. Stack some canned goods (since these won't spoil at once compared to cooked food), several bottles of drinking water, biscuits, and candies (to keep your sugar in a good level when you are tensed). Store some blisters of medicines too for fever, stomach ache, pain, colds, and cough.

Tools

Your knife is a very important multipurpose tool that you have to place in your kit. Spare keys, flashlights, torch lighter, candles, batteries, blankets, extra clothes and jackets, rubbing alcohol, and rain boots should also be complete in your box.

Documents

Make sure you bring copies of important documents that are difficult to request for replacement like insurance policies, property title, passport, and identification cards. Place them in a waterproof container or a safety deposit box.

#4 Check your house for necessary repairs.

Your house will be your first line of defense against a strong storm. Check the roof, the ceiling, the walls, windows, and doors if there are damages that need repair. Make sure your house is sturdy enough to stand against the strong winds or floods that might come during the storm.

If a possible flash flood is announced, you might want to lift your appliances like TV, refrigerator, washing machine, and other important possessions in a higher place. Electrical outlets should also be sealed with a plastic cover, so ask professionals to come over to secure them.

#5 Have the wisdom to evacuate when you see that things are already risky if you stay in your home.

It is very dangerous to stay in low-lying beaches and other places like valleys which might possibly be swept away by floods or tidal waves.

If your region's weather department already announced a storm signal in your area, transfer to appointed evacuation areas, and try to notify your neighbors as well.

And don't forget to mark yourself safe on Facebook so your loved ones from across the globe will be at ease.

Natural calamities are situations that we can never prevent nor escape from. But if we become more responsible, we can counter the effects and help save more lives and properties from the havoc caused by super typhoons.

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