Monday, November 11, 2013

Typhoon ravaged Tacloban City in chaos

Tacloban, the hometown of my mother, is in chaos. This city of 220,000 souls was totally destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan which hit the city with 300 plus kilometer per hour winds and creating storm surges by up to 3 meters in height. Based on reports, there is now a breakdown of law and order. People are scampering for food. People are ransacking establishments just to get supplies. Why is this so? Government must deploy sociologists and psychologists in the area to study why people reacted like this. As a crisis expert, yes, this is an expected result. Anarchy will happen if people are in a heightened state of anxiety. This anxiety results from lack of information. Government must constantly barrage people with messages of assurances of help. People reach desperation stage if they do not know what is happening. Imagine, in a span of two or three days, peace and order broke down. I believe that the local government unit failed in doing the necessary measures to prevent such a breakdown. The United Nations and the Red Cross estimate more than 10,000 people killed, while the NDRCC ha snot been able to confirm this. So far, official estimates place those killed at around 800 people. This is a sad episode of a cruel disaster. Government should first, provide enough information to the citizenry to prevent many from doing illegal things. Second, mass every available personnel and deploy in strategic areas to restore peace and order. Third, use all available resources within striking distance and provide people with food, clothing, shelter and if government can restore communications and power, that would ease the impact of this catastrophe. Likewise, government must treat what is happening in Tacloban as a case study. What if this happens in Metro Manila? Will peace and order also break down? What about other metropolitan areas of this archipelago?