Typhoon Haiyan, named “Yolanda” in the Philippines is one of the most powerful storms in the history of mankind.
I can’t describe the scene when I first seen the images of the devastation not just in Tacloban but the nearby provinces of the Visayas region in Philippines. I have seen several of them on videos through social media sites. Shocking! Homes, streets, villages, entire neighborhoods wipe out. I’ve never seen anything like that in my whole life.
A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low pressure weather system, typically tropical cyclones and strong extratropical cyclones.
But did you know that an immediate evacuation of almost a thousand people had saved the small island and its people from the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan? Yes, the prompt evacuation of almost a 1,000 people from a tiny island called Tulang Diyot that had all 500 houses devastated by Typhoon Haiyan saved the entire population according to a local leader who has been a long-time champion for disaster risk reduction. In a report from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, San Francisco in Cebu Province is officially recognized as a role model by the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in a highly hazard-prone part of the world. Alfredo Arquillano, the former Mayor of San Francisco, Cebu Province said, they have been working on to build up strong community preparedness and awareness to reduce calamity risks.
“My goodness, it was a good decision; it’s fair to say it saved everyone’s life. There is not one house left standing on the island, everything was wiped out”, Arquillano said.
Tulang Diyot is about 1.5km long and 500 metres across at its widest and lies about 1km off San Francisco island, part of the Camotes Islands which are sandwiched between the larger neighbouring islands of Leyte to the east and Cebu to the west.
Mr. Arquillano who is a Champion of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign, said it was important now to work towards reducing future disaster risk.
Mr. Arquillano, thank you for your strong leadership. Mabuhay ka!
After Haiyan [Yolanda], it should be easier for everyone of us to know that it’s good to have a better understanding of calamity awareness and preparedness. Now we all know what a storm surge can do.
Source: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for Asia and Pacific (UNISDR AP)