KASAMA Vol. 26 No. 1 / January-February-March 2012 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Still stunned, survivors of Sendong have yet to really mourn

Still Stunned
Tropical Storm ‘Sendong’ - a roundup of initial reports
Part Two of Four

Following a visit to the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, Walden Bello, Akbayan Partylist member of Congress in the Philippines House of Representatives, wrote in his regular column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he observed civil society groups and individuals filling the vacuum left by hapless city government officials:

“…we saw goods pouring in from other parts of the country as well as from international organizations being received and distributed by an impressive, well-organized effort involving hundreds of volunteers.”

“Sendong was an ecological disaster,” he wrote:

“The Cagayan de Oro River watershed had been stripped of trees and vegetation that could have dammed the floodwaters. Indiscriminate logging, in turn, stemmed partly from population pressure as thousands of rural families could no longer sustain themselves via traditional livelihoods. Population pressure had also driven thousands of families to settle on ecologically fragile areas like Isla de Oro in Cagayan and Bayug Island in Iligan. Populated by around 10,000 people each, both spits of land jutting into the river were totally wiped out by the combination of rampaging waters and careening logs bulldozing everything in front of them."

“But apparently the main culprit was the man-made phenomenon of global warming, which was responsible for the unusual path that Sendong took across an area of the country that is very seldom, if at all, visited by typhoons or tropical storms originating in the Pacific.”

‘Still stunned, survivors of Sendong have yet to really mourn’, Walden Bello,
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 December 2011.