Bracing the typhoon
Winds so strong and rain keep on pouring. About 28 degrees Celsius and very humid atmosphere. These weather disturbances I have never experienced for the last several months. To note, this typhoon seems to be the strongest ever experienced by the community since the time I was born.
I and my family seems to consider the typhoon as a usual occurrence. Never did we imagine it could be strong that it could potentially result to loss of property and lives. We took it easy and never prepared for something of this magnitude. I hope the wind and rain abate soon. Honestly, the nervousness I feel is undeniable as we do not know when this would end and what will happen next.
The day before.
It was Sunday. News all over that a typhoon is about to hit the island. I browsed the internet and read it was about few hundreds of kilometers where I live, but the wind seems to be not so strong. So I calmly slept and never did any precautionary measures before. I even did not charge my phone, thinking the typhoon will just bring torrential rains.
Noticeably the path of the typhoon seems to replicate the path of two deadly typhoons that have hit the island within the last four years. The first typhoon who traversed the same path hit last 2011, which made me realize how vulnerable we, human beings to calamities, even though how much we try to plan and prepare for things. The typhoon in 2011 almost killed some of my students, who were preparing for the licensure examination. That time I was heading to the area greatly damaged and affected for work and to give support to my students. I was not prepared emotionally and mentally of the next things that would happen. The flood went so high up to 10 meters, almost drowning hundreds of my students. Luckily, there got access to the rooftop which helped saved their own lives. However, hundreds of people in the surrounding area were not as lucky as my students. They lost either their lives, their loved ones, or their properties.
In spite of prior experience with typhoons, I just brushed off the experience and did not use prior knowledge how to handle similar disturbances like this. And so I slept, as if I was just in Oslo, where typhoons and weather disturbances do not occur.
The day of the typhoon.
I woke up with the whistling sound of the wind. I seems to be so strong. It seems more than 100 kilometers per hour. This came to me as a surprise since the expected winds the news have stated was less than 80 kilometers per hour. I have experience few typhoons with similar wind speed, but not this magnitude.
There is no electricity. My phone is out of battery. I only had my laptop fully charged but I know this will run out of battery after about 3 hours. Since I slept in the sofa in the lower floor of our house, I immediately went up to my room in the upper floor. There in the windows I witnessed the wrath of the typhoon. It was so strong. Coconut trees are almost ripped off. Their palm leaves and their fruits are falling freely on the ground. Roof are almost tearing apart. I was just hoping it will not be flown away. That could be dangerous. Knowing our house is better built, it did not ease the anxiety I feel. I was thinking of the others living where coconut trees abound.
Text messages from neighbors came that their houses has been hit by falling trees. That could be devastating. Many have already evacuated in a nearby covered court, which we see from the upper floor of our house. I am very much worried of our family and the others living in our city. I know the typhoon affects other provinces as well in the island. Low-lying communities and communities along shoreline. Certainly, they will be the greatest hit by the typhoon.
At this moment, all of are hoping the storm will weaken as soon as possible. We do have resources for survival, but if the damage will be worse. Certainly, this would hamper a lot of things and routine. I hope all of us Filipinos will just brush this off tomorrow. I really hope so. I do not know. I myself is uncertain in my town. For now, I just have to think of my family and their safety. We would just remain indoors as long as possible.
Written 29th of the December, 2014
10:00 in the morning
Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Philippines
After almost 8 hours of strong winds and rain, the typhoon abates. I can already hear the birds chirping. I see some trees being toppled down. There is no electricity yet and everyone is waiting for news. I hope there is no significant damage. What we know is that there was landslide that occurred about 2 kilometers, where I live and claimed at least one life.
48 hours after the storm, electricity came back, but episodes of black out still exists. There is no water in most areas. I knew then that the eye of the storm was just about 20 kilometers from where I live, perhaps we were hit by the eye itself of the typhoon. It continues to hit other provinces. I hope everything will be back before the New Year Celebrations.
About 55 hours after the storm, everything seems to be normal. I am thankful everyone are safe.