Help amid destruction
Unlike typhoons which can be tracked by weather satellites, earthquakes can occur at any place and any time, and it was unfortunate for the people of Surigao province that they were hit by a major quake late last Friday evening.
Unlike the Oct. 15, 2013 earthquake which occurred at 8:45 am, Surigao’s earthquake broke out past 10 p.m. at a time when most of the population had retired for the night and were looking forward to a long weekend.
For those still awake that time, who had partied long after the work week had ended, last Friday evening’s quake was both a rude awakening and a solemn reminder that humanity remains ever vulnerable to the unpredictability and resulting devastation of natural calamities.
In a repeat of the Feb. 8, 2012 quake that rattled both Cebu and Negros Oriental, people immediately sought higher ground for fear that they might be hit by a tsunami, otherwise erroneously called as tidal wave.
Cebu residents not only empathized with the fears and anxieties experienced by those in Surigao, specifically those in Surigao City where the quake hit hardest, but also were among those who responded quickly to their plight.
Immediately after hearing about the quake, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma ordered all parishes to mobilize their lay persons and ask for additional collections from the faithful for donations to those who lost their homes and loved ones from the quake.
Local officials were also alerted and quickly mobilized their personnel and resources to donate cash and materials to the families that were displaced by the quake.
More importantly, the national government managed to send its personnel and facilities to help the families despite the widespread devastation that saw most buildings destroyed, bridges and roads broken and infrastructure such as an airport and seaport severely damaged.
While Surigao province is in Mindanao and is thus far away from Cebu and Central Visayas, which experienced both an earthquake and the strongest super typhoon to ever hit the country in recent memory just four years ago, local governments in Cebu and the region had answered the call for action and assistance.
Right now, Cebu’s LGUs can take the initiative and send in the contributions directly to the families, but they need to coordinate with other government agencies to ensure that their material and financial assistance won’t get lost and stockpiled amid the mountain of contributions that will surely be sent by compassionate donors from across the country and all over the world.
While Surigao province is still struggling to dust themselves off from the rubble of their destroyed homes and buildings, it is still heartening to note that they are not alone in overcoming this tragedy.
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