Lawin has just passed and even all the way here from Australia, it is all I hear about from Bandila and TV Patrol. The fear levels are high and all the more justified. It is almost as devastating, if not just as horrible as Yolanda from 2013. While there are already a rising amount of deaths and destroyed homes, the Filipinos of North Luzon are still trying to gather their spirits. Waiting, persisting and worrying in various overcrowded shelters.
Just to see the photos of this natural disaster’s wreckage is heartbreaking. Such a powerful typhoon doesn’t even discriminate- if your home is in its path, there will probably be damage coming. While the power of nature itself is a difficult opponent to counteract and is impossible to prevent, the best that can be done is to prepare as efficiently and early as possible. In Australia there are much less natural disasters, especially in Victoria. Our main concerns are bushfires (usually started by disturbed people) during the blistering summer and constantly-changing weather.
From early on in school, there were classes and manuals here regarding preparation for natural disasters that I’ve encountered. As such, whether bushfire or a terrible typhoon, it is best to be prepared and usually the same measures apply.
Have you thought about doing these things? Mas mabuti nang i-handa mo ang sarili mo at ang iyong pamilya. (It’s always better to prepare yourself and your family properly).
1. Use Technology To Constantly Keep In Contact. Plenty of people have smartphones nowadays, even the most basic ones. It is easy to send a text and keep contact with loved ones and one of the best ways to keep safe is to have a routine of communication. Agree to text each other and check back every hour when separated. Or every two hours. Alternatively, you can also get one of the many emergency contact apps. These apps can contact your loved ones and send an emergency message with a tap of a button. They can also display your details on the screen for emergency services if you happen to get injured or incapacitated.
Remember most phones also have a radio and a flashlight, don’t forget to use these in an emergency! Also, if you happen to have a portable battery charger, keep it fully charged and on your person at all times.
2. Carry An Antibacterial Solution. One of the biggest problems a typhoon-stricken population in the Philippines can encounter is sickness and infection. The typhoon brings about floods, erosion and destruction, it is all too easy to get infected from a simple wound you may not even realise you have. Carry a first aid kit with you or if not possible, a single bottle of antibacterial solution like Betadyne or Isopropyl Alcohol. It is better to be safe now and stay clean rather than dealing with horrible consequences later in a cramped hospital or clinic.
3. Have A Bottle Of Clean Water Per Person. If you are rushing to evacuate, one of the last things you can easily carry is a jug of purified water. It is too cumbersome and there may not be a space for it wherever you’re going to evacuate. Sometimes yes, other times no. But just to be sure, have each member of the family carry a bottle of clean water. It doesn’t have to be a brand new one, a water bottle or previously used (but clean) plastic bottle filled with clean water is enough. Most people tend to worry about food, but forget that clean water is one of the first things to go in a typhoon.
4. Keep Track Of The Nearest Evacuation Centre Or Health Centre. Study the map of your area, all the streets, alleyways and roads. Familiarise yourself with the general direction of the nearest hospital, clinic and evacuation centre or shelter. Now this is really vital – teach every single member of your household that, too. Especially the children. In case you all get separated, they will know where to go to get help and stay safe.
5. Take Photos/Scan Your Important Documents. When you’re leaving your home in a rush, you may not be able to take all your crucial documents with you. Birth certificates, health documents, passports and the such. There is also no guarantee they will escape the typhoon undamaged. Long before a typhoon is even announced, gradually scan all your important documents or take a photo of them with your phone and upload them onto a USB or a secure online account.
No one ever regrets being prepared too early for such a disastrous event like a typhoon. The more prepared you are, the less worried you will be the next time something like Lawin or Yolanda comes along.
What is your advice in the event of a typhoon?