Super Typhoon Haiyan: Nature’s wrath and its most devastating impact

View Gallery 6 Photos

Due to the massive devastation and destruction of unimaginable magnitude brought about by super typhoon Haiyan, the date November 8, 2013 will be etched in the history of the Philippines especially in the eastern part of the Visayas. The super typhoon, locally tagged Yolanda, was said to be the strongest typhoon ever recorded to make a landfall with the greatest trail of devastation although there were much stronger typhoons but landed on waters.

The advance typhoon advisory and disaster preparation weren’t enough to combat the life-threatening calamity for it was nature’s wrath at its most horrifying devastation. Residents of the Visayas region, particularly Tacloban City where Super Typhoon Yolanda made its initial landfall, suffered an unprecedented horrifying experience with the rapid escalation of storm. It was one worst nightmare that would haunt them for a lifetime.

The strong gust of wind and the surge of Yolanda’s power struck with unbelievable might that wiped out everything that crossed its path even the sturdiest edifices and infrastructures. The initial impact alone tremendously devastated every island and city it passed through, leaving behind a completely flattened ground and enormous amount of debris and rubble.

The aftermath offered dreadful and heartbreaking sights of homeless survivors, mountains of destroyed properties, and scattered cadavers of humans and animals. Typhoon victims were not only scared of death and hunger but lawlessness, as well. Due to the lack and delayed arrival of vital supplies, people resorted to looting and robbery to survive.

Survivors constantly complained about being unable to receive aid and supplies on time. Since major bridges and every possible land connections were damaged and all communication facilities were totally wiped out, no immediate aid could come. The damaged infrastructures hampered the arrival and distribution of major aids and needs, as well as the retrieval and recovery operations. Affected people started to grow desperate for food, water, medicine, shelter, and clothing. They complained of not eating for days.

The aerial view fully pictured the vastness of Yolanda’s damage. It was more disheartening to see than the cinematic production set-up of the Apocalypse. The magnanimous amount of damages require a monumental effort of recovery and an almost lifetime rebuilding to fully restore everything that were lost and paint the ruined areas back into their original picture.

Undeniably, the initial relief goods have immediately given relief to a number of victims but not for long, for these are merely superficially covering a totally scratched surface.

If they say a picture paints a thousand words but the harrowing sights captured from Yolanda’s aftermath would leave even the greatest poet at a loss for words.

Noticeably, there’s a simultaneous global abnormal occurrences in a variety of magnitude but just equally devastating, affecting a great number of lives and properties. With jobs, properties, lives, and hopes lost, there’s a desperate need for long term support for every one of Yolanda’s victim.

With everything gone and with nothing to start anew, Yolanda’s victims were almost at their breaking points. They were left with no homes to return to but the towering piles of debris that dwarf them, no roofs for shelter but the vast skies, no beds or mats to lay their weary bodies but the barren grounds, no clothes to warm them but immeasurable fear, no food to keep their souls and bodies intact but merciful prayers solicited from the unknown, nothing to sustain their lives but fading hopes, and with no sight of tomorrow but a bleak future so uncertain, unmeasured, and untold.

The survivors might have been triumphant in cheating death but the harrowing memory of the tragic past is expected to slowly reduce the strength of their mortality into windblown ashes as their threshold to hoping gradually vanishes in thin air. Having awakened from a bad dream with nothing spared from Yolanda’s wrath buried their hopes and dreams deep beneath the rubble and debris that surround them.

CNN’s daily coverage of the disaster gave the world not only an awareness of the massive destruction that affected the Philippines but offered a full picture of the typhoon’s harrowing aftermath. The popular global television broadcast also issued a comment which majority of the Filipinos found comforting: “Time to get to know the Filipino people, unbelievably resilient, long suffering, good-natured, ever friendly, loyal, ingenuous, and a bunch of survivors. At the end of the day, the Filipinos will just shake off the dirt from their clothes and go about their business and smile. They do not complain much, they will bear as long as they can. Maybe, this is why they are given the ‘privilege’ of bearing the burden of the strongest typhoon ever recorded. The indomitable human spirit at its finest.”

Concerned Filipinos all over the world started to mobilize all possible assistance they could afford to extend to aid 4.3 million people in more than 36 provinces severely impacted by the typhoon back home.

Having left an unofficial count of more than 10,000 dead, 2,000 missing, and an undisclosed amount of damage to properties, there was a sudden mobilization of international fund raising events and voluntary donations pouring in from almost every country and nation.

And as if the recent 7.3 earthquake and the dynamic lambasting of Yolanda weren’t suffice to literally change the physical set-up of the Philippine south eastern map, another tropical depression found its way almost to the same path where typhoon Yolanda trailed. Locally code-named Zoraida, the new typhoon entered eastern Davao that placed the entire Visayas and most Minadanao regions in another life-threatening alert.

With the heartbreaking and mind-blowing tragedy that the recent natural calamities have brought, we soon realized that no matter how seemingly invincible and indomitable men are yet we are still of no match to the furious and powerful wrath of Mother Nature.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) the official government death toll from super typhoon Yolanda has risen to 2,275 and as of press time, relief collections and distributions are simultaneously being mobilized reaching out even to the remotest and far flung areas. Aids of all sorts from different countries and international socio-civic organizations are continuously arriving.

In weeks, Christmas will be globally celebrated but will its spirit be felt by those tragic souls? Not much for the adults who could bear the pain and sacrifice of having nothing for the holidays but how about the children? Remember, Christmas is all about them. The joyous season is actually for them. How could we seat before our tables laden with sumptuous foods knowing that there are millions back home alienated from and deprived of the observance of this joyous season?

In the midst of global modernization and technological advancements, the world today still goes through a lot of natural calamities and disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Even the most highly developed countries and progressive cities cannot control the power and might of nature.

It is only through intense prayer and firm faith to the Almighty that could supplicate our survival and save the world from all natural calamities and adversities.

For comments and suggestions, please email [email protected] 

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.

Copyright © 1991-2023 Asian Journal Media Group.
All Rights Reserved.