My world is inundated by typhoons and monsoon rains---three typhoons this past week alone. We were hit by six typhoons in July, the most recent, "Lando", is the 12th tropical depression this year. Flash floods, landslides, missing fishermen were in the news as well as images of evacuees, flooded streets, damaged crops, bridges and homes. An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year but it seems that we are always caught unprepared.
Some observers say our weather forecasting has improved, alert systems are in place. But I believe preventive measures remain a challenge. Communities in high-risk areas continue to mushroom despite warnings from risk managers. The bahala na (come what may) attitude of Filipinos somehow contributes to non-preparation for any disastrous event.
There is a Japanese expression "shikata ga nai" which is roughly translated to "it couldn't be helped". It may be the Filipino equivalent of "bahala na"---the difference is, the Japanese takes every possible precaution to confront the wrath of fate. While we say "bahala na" and we totally surrender to God and the whims of destiny.
The annual cost of loss of lives, property and crops is not cheap, the human suffering immeasurable. We learn our lessons after every disaster, we become more resilient with every passing calamity. But we need to do more---be more proactive rather than reactive. Push our leaders to take definite actions, seriously implement zoning, upgrade the agencies in disaster risk management.