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Sendong was the most destructive storm to hit the Philippines in 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:56

By BEN CAL

Tropical storm “Sendong” (international code Washi) was the most destructive cyclone to hit the Philippines this year in terms of human lives lost that could reach over 2,000.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in its bulletin as of 6 a.m. on Christmas Day that the number of fatalities remained at a status quo at 1,100 and 1,079 missing. But finding those missing alive is becoming slimmer and slimmer as each day passes by.

There are fears the missing could be dead by this time.

Rescuers have difficulty in recovering the victims due to the tons of mud that have covered the wide area of destruction in Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City and Dumaguete City that bore the brunt of Sendong.

So deadly was Sendong’s fury that houses were toppled like matches, trees uprooted and vehicles were washed out and overturned and piled up on top of the other.

Sendong dumped tons of rain never before seen in the last 50 years in northern Mindanao, particularly Cagayan de Oro and Iligan which are not normally within the path of typhoons.

Residents in these places were complacent that when the warning was issued by the government of an impending storm, they apparently ignored it.

They went to sleep that night of December 16 and were awakened by the roaring floodwaters. By that time it was already too late.

The 1,100 people confirmed killed by Tropical Storm Sendong and the 1,079 missing and feared dead dwarfed that of Ondoy, a full-blown typhoon that struck Luzon,
including Metro Manila that left 747 fatalities and destroyed properties and agricultural crops estimated at P45 billion.

Rescue workers have continued their retrieval operations for the ninth day in the aftermath of Sendong’s destruction.

Sendong was the 19th cyclone to hit the country this year. The Philippines has an average of 20 typhoons per year.

The 18 other typhoons that hit the country in 2011 are as follows:

Amang on April 4 that hit Eastern Samar; Bebeng (International Code: Aere) on May 6 that battered the Bicol Region, Eastern Samar, Westerm Samar, Quezon, Marinduque and Masbate; Chedeng (International Code: Songda) that hit Eastern Samar on May 23;

Dodong (International Code: Sarika) on June 9 that affected Northern and Central Luzon; Egay (International Name: “Egay”) on June 17 that affected Catanduanes, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar, Babuyan Group of Islands, Cagayan, Calayan, Batanes Group of Islands, Apayao and Ilocos Norte.

Falcon (International Code: “Meari”) on June 21 that affected Eastern Samar; Goring on July 9 that hit Batanes; Hanna (International Code: Tokage) on July 15 that hit Catanduanes; Ineng (International Code: “Ma-on”) which only entered briefly within the Philippine area of Responsibility on July 17.

Juaning (International Code: Nock-ten) July 25 that hit Luzon; Kabayan (International Code: Muifa) on July 28 which hit the Visayas; Lando on July 31 that hit Northern Luzon; Mina (International Name: Nanmadol) on August 26 that again affected Northern Luzon; Nonoy (International Code: Kulap) on September 8 that hit Northern Luzon for the third time in a row.

Onyok (International Code: Roke) on September 12 that affected only Batanes Island; Pedring on September 24 that affected the entire Luzon, including Metro Manila; Quiel (International Code: Nalgae) on September 29 that hit Northern Luzon; Ramon on October 10 that hit Eastern Mindanao, Eastern Visayas and Central Visayas.

Sendong’s destruction left untold miseries to tens of thousands of victims and evacuees.

But what was heartening to note was the spontaneous response of Filipinos here and abroad and the global community which sent deluge of help in the form of cash and relief goods, particularly food, water and medicines.

Government from various countries extended material help to the victims in cash and in kind coursed to the Philippine government through their embassies.

The response of the Philippine government was also tremendous as both civilian and military authorities joined hands in distributing relief goods to the thousands of Sendong’s victims.

Once again, the Filipinos displayed its “bayanihan” spirit of helping each other in times of calamities like Sendong. Many organizations cancelled their Christmas celebrations and instead chipped in money for the flood victims.

It was this gesture of sharing that cheered up the spirit of Christmas for the thousands of Sendong’s victims temporarily housed in various evacuation centers.

 
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