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From Grief To Grief As Typhoon Pepeng Nears

October 1, 2009


Frustration has begun to boil over.

Flood victims, battling each other, swamped workers distributing food and emergency supplies as the government struggled to cope with more than half a million people dislocated by the worst flooding in decades in Metro Manila and surrounding areas.

The latest Philippine Daily Inquirer main story on-line and the first sentence encapsulate how this writer feels.

But wait.

The other details can turn one’s feeling of frustration into rage.

As weather men track the approach of super typhoon Pepeng with center winds of 146 KPH and gusts of close to 200 KPH, we shudder at the satellite image showing Pepeng’s diameter wider as being than Luzon.


Net 25 TV is reporting this:

Typhoon Parma is forecast to strike the Philippines as a super typhoon at about 12:00 GMT on 3 October. Data supplied by the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 17.2 N, 123.2 E. Parma is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 268 km/h (166 mph). Wind gusts in the area may be considerably higher.
According to the Saffir-Simpson damage scale the potential property damage and flooding from a storm of Parma’s strength (category 5) at landfall includes:
•    Storm surge generally greater than 5.5 metres (18 feet) above normal.
•    Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings.
•    Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away.
•    All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down.
•    Complete destruction of mobile homes.
•    Severe and extensive window and door damage.
•    Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the centre of the storm.
•    Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 4.6 metres (15 feet) above sea level and within 460 metres (500 yards) of the shoreline.
•    Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 8-16 km miles (5-10 miles) of the shoreline may be required.
There is also the potential for flooding further inland due to heavy rain.

Then governmet tells us that the calamity fund has all but PhP27-M left from the 1-B outlay.

Where’d the money go?

This report flashes back:

August 15, 2009

President Arroyo used up the government’s P800-million contingency fund for emergencies like calamities for her frequent foreign trips, Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona III revealed yesterday.
“She exhausted not only Malacañang’s funds but also the P800-million appropriation for emergencies in the 2008 national budget,” he told radio station dzMM.
He said he based his revelation on a Commission on Audit (COA) report submitted to Speaker Prospero Nograles this week.
“I have a copy of the report. An assistant commissioner of COA even briefed us on their shocking findings,” he said.

The Department of Finance reported a P210-billion budget deficit as of August this year, representing 84 percent of its target of P250 billion for the whole year.

But not to worry, Malacanang and Congress are telling us because they now intend to pass 1 PhP 10-B supplemental budget with the money coming from “the proceeds of of government bonds to be floated this week for the purpose of augmenting the government’s calamity fund.”

Don’t clap yet though because most of that will already be used up even before the national treasury can smell it.

What with almost 80 percent of health centers in Manila having  been destroyed and the ground in the eastern side of Metro Manila still under 12 inches of mud.

We’ve also been told that damage to public and private property from Ondoy is nearly 5 billion pesos.

Nearly a week after Ondoy thousands upon thousands of families still haven’t received emergency relief with money more waiting to be rescued.

Most are simply now praying as the efforts of both government and the private sector are seemingly close to breaking point.

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