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Thursday, July 25, 2024

A stark reminder

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This week, Filipinos remembered how Tropical Storm “Ondoy” ravaged parts of Metro Manila and Luzon 10 years ago. Ondoy’s fury brought one month’s worth of rain in only 12 hours; it left 710 dead.

A stark reminder

Images of that Saturday haunt our collective consciousness. Homes and establishments were submerged in water that in some places rose to as high as the second floor. Roads were impassable for days making relief distribution difficult.

This week, too, the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was released. What it says, while not surprising, is nonetheless alarming. Climate change is progressing at a rate faster than expected. The consequences, which many are already beginning to feel, are dire.

Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, more violent and more frequent weather patterns are emerging, forests are burning. While the problem is global and the effects widespread, those bound to suffer are the poorer nations who do not have the capacity to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

In the case of the Philippines, communities are only as secure as the preparations undertaken by their local government. Ondoy 10 years ago reminded us what the so-called new normal looks like. We wonder: What would that look like in 10, 20, 30 more years?

Young people across the globe took to the streets last week and this week to remind their elders that there is indeed a climate emergency, and that decisive action needs to be done now—not in the future. After all, if humans fail to slow the accumulation of deadly greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it will be the youth—and their children, and their children’s children—to suffer the consequences and live in a world so hostile and unsafe.

Ondoy is just one among many bad memories. Ten years after, we hope local governments are more resilient and better able to protect people and property from the blows of nature.


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