PLAIN AND SIMPLE| What a December!

REMEMBER December 4, some four or five years ago?

Typhoon Pablo hit the Davao Region, particularly Cateel in Davao Oriental and New Bataan in Compostela Valley. People in those areas were caught off-guard in spite of the supposed preparation. We, from Davao, woke up to the news of devastation.

Cateel and New Bataan and adjoining places were a sight of destruction and devastation. Government was counting deaths and destruction. Pablo’s havoc pulverized the areas and it was a costly lesson for planners and government to learn.

Three days after the typhoon hit New Bataan, I went there with Fr. Pete Lamata and his people in the St Jude Parish. We brought a hundred sacks of rice delivered directly to Fr. Tuling, the parish priest of the New Bataan parish where help would be distributed to the typhoon victims.

We saw the destruction and it was unbelievable, to say the very least. The once inland resort of Bamboo New Bataan was turned into boulders of rocks. It has become a part of a nightmare people of that place do not want to even think about.

Slowly, Cateel and New Bataan picked up the pieces and went on with their lives. They tried to be resilient as they faced with this greater challenge of their lives.

December came and everything was fine. Then another December. People could not hear nostalgic Christmas songs…silent night,, holy night…all is bright..

But this December came tragic events, we in Davao could not comprehend. Unthinkable and unimaginable tragedies. Floods came, or was it flashflood because people in Don Julian, Jade Valley and Gem Villages were practically caught flatfooted. There was no rain in San Rafael area as people congregated near the bridge to watch the river.

No indication the river would overflow that fast. We passed by at 9pm to drop a friend near Gem Village and there was no indication the river would overflow that fast. But after 30 minutes, Don Julian and Gem Village were drowned in a flood they were so unprepared to face.

No rescue from government, but our friends went to Southpoint School, the school of Undersecretary Abella. They were housed there, thanks to the generosity of the administration of Southpoint.

But the flood was rising. And fear was written all over the faces of those whose houses in the area were drowned with the flood.

Sleepless the whole night, they watched the flood rising, till it stopped . But there was no sign it would subside, not until the morning broke and they came to their houses with practically nothing except the mud and and murky water laden with used oil from a repair shop nearby.

It will take a week to clean their houses. Meanwhile, they evacuated somewhere where they are safe.

While they were contemplating on their situation, news broke that NCCC was on fire. This one is a subject of our next column. Oh, December 2017.

Posted in Opinion