The massive flooding and landslides triggered by the relentless rains brought by Tropical Storm “Quiel” in Cagayan province last week, once again, tested the ‘bayanihan’ spirit in the region. But this time, it is waterproof!
Clad with multi-coloured vests and armed with various rescue gadgets, dozens of disaster teams from the different agencies and organizations all over the region came to the rescue throughout the weekend.
They did not mind getting wet just to extend humanitarian services and help in the disaster response operations following the extreme flooding of 11 towns in Cagayan last week.
Now or Never
With a sense of urgency, each team brought along with them their ambulances, rescue boats and other rescue equipment to augment the Cagayan provincial government’s resources and equipment in the rescue and relief operations.
Some local government units dispatched their water search and rescue teams, including a medical team to help neighbouring towns get back on their feet.
Other rescue teams even attempted to penetrate extremely flooded areas but later decided to abort the operation due to the dangerous terrain and the unpredictability of what lies ahead. They have no choice, but to wait for the flood to subside a bit to launch another rescue operation.
No doubt, the massive flooding, which has been described as one of the worst weather disturbances in Cagayan history, made the bayanihan spirit, a rare trait we Filipinos are known for, alive and well!
Volunteers to the rescue
Hundreds, if not thousands, of police officers and military officials, even non-uniformed personnel, trooped to the affected towns in Cagayan to help in the rescue and relief operations for the flood- and landslides victims.
Nameless organizations and individuals also helped in the repacking and distribution of relief goods to thousands of displaced families staying in various evacuation centers.
These volunteers came from all walks of life—from ordinary students to employees of private companies and various government agencies to members of civil society organizations and religious groups.
Some private individuals even spearheaded a number of donation drives, to encourage others to share whatever they can or to open their homes to those who lost theirs.
This is a testament that Cagayan Valley’s bayanihan spirit flows and activates naturally when faced with calamity, an innate trait that residents here can always be proud of. In fact, it is already in their blood!
Amid the still drizzling weather, Cagayanos, in their hope of rising again, immediately started helping each other to fix and clean the mess left by the damaging floods.
The flooding has affected 66,375 individuals or 11,597 families leaving four dead, one injured and one missing. It even destroyed a total area of 2,006.15 hectares of standing crops and affected 1,637 farmers.
Amid economic losses and casualties, Cagayanos remained unfazed and positive. They became better and sturdier!
In fact, they still have it in them the courage to smile and laugh, just to show to the world that Cagayanos will always have the capacity to thrive and rise again even after the most difficult situations.
Needless to say, the countless natural disasters that hit Region 2 in the previous years had made Cagayan Valley residents whethered the test of time, thus, become better and smarter at crisis and disaster management. (ALM/PIA-2 Cagayan)
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