Nature’s Wrath + Man’s Folly=Disaster
Mother Nature’s wrath is captured in chilling fashion in the graphic editorial artwork above by Carlo Barrameda.
Indeed we are distraught from the back to back floods from Ondoy and Pepeng,
The collective national trauma is further deepening in the face of the killer landslides in Benguet.
(Photos by Associated Press)
News networks are now saying the death toll could top 600.
One initial CNN report showed the emerging seriousness of the catastrophe:
As if to punctuate the continuing danger, yet another landslide is said to have happened in sitio Baco, Barangay Kelly Ucab in Itogon town with 1 confirmed dead.
That entire mountainsides have buried dozens of homes in Benguet is proof undeniable of the degradation of the forest in the area, resulting in ground instability due to the eradication of trees whose deep running roots keep the land strong and compact.
It takes little to understand how given the ground’s inability to absorb rainwater brings the run-off direct to the protective and irrigation sustaining facilities like the mammoth San Roque Dam.
So with the dam filling up almost uncontrollably the only recourse is to release water and ease the dangerous build up of pressure that could cause dam collapse.
(Photo by Northern Watch Online)
With releases running at up to 5,000 cubic meters per second the life-sustaining water turns into infrastructure destroyer and killer.
Northern Watch Online is reporting that up to “three spillway gates og San Roque Dam were opened” in the operation.
The graph below speaks volumes:
Local officials are now angrily questioning the “suddenness” and wisdom of how dams are being relieved of pressure without timely alerts being given.
The plain and simple truth is even if water release alerts are given say two or three hour ahead, LGUs really have little or no capability to undertake pre-emptive evacuation work as with the abandoned homes and even public property certain of being laid to waste!
Force majeure or man’s folloy? BOTH.