On Dec. 16, 2021 I woke up to horrible news from my hometown Cebu, Philippines. The night before (Philippines time), several areas in the Philippines were hit by the devastating Typhoon Odette (also known as Typhoon Rai in other countries of the world).
Typhoon Odette was a catastrophic tropical cyclone equivalent to a category 5 super typhoon! Before anything, I just want to say that we don't normally have typhoons in December so this is obviously (in my opinion) a result from climate change and global warming.
We didn't have much info in the beginning because people lost electricity, telephone network, and worst - their homes! 🥺🥺
When we finally had contact with them and saw the videos and photos, my heart sunk. Apparently as Typhoon Odette pounded the Philippines, heavy rainfall and strong and gusty winds impacted several areas. Friends have told me that this went on and on for at least 7 hours straight! It went quiet for a little while, but it was because it was the eye of the typhoon. Scary! 😱😱
The typhoon unexpectedly picked up speed from 120 km/h to 260 km/h!!! I was told that there were 6 landfalls!
Once I started receiving videos and photos, it was too difficult to go on with my morning. As I mentioned, a lot of people lost their homes, but people have almost their lives. I've already heard about 4 deaths. Who knows what we will find out in 2 weeks?!
People didn't have access to running water, drinking water, electricity, and network. They quickly turned to generator sets, but that needs diesel. So people mobbed gas stations. Same thing happened with ATM's. We wanted to send money to our loved ones back home, but it was impossible for them to pick up the money as electricity and network was down. The feeling of being so far away and not being able to help was overwhelming. 💔💔
More and more of our friends and family were able to contact us quickly to tell us they were fine. But that they needed water to drink. Some were able to evacuate. This was sadly not the case for a lot of people especially the unfortunate ones. But it's amazing to see how quickly people got together to help each other. I even saw a video of a former classmate of mine thanking her neighbours because they gave her water to shower. When I looked closely, it turned out the neighbours were my father's friends!
Here are some photos and videos I found online. These are not mine so credits go to the rightful owners. I can't help but cry when I look at these photos.
Resilience is an adjective that is always used to describe Filipinos but it would be great to have a break. We're obviously still dealing with Covid and now this ... it's a lot especially during this period of the year. Filipinos are known to celebrate Christmas and I'm talking about really celebrating Christmas in a big way. In fact, we start in September. So to see the our city's Christmas tree down and knowing that people will be celebrating in the dark brings me to tears. So if you read this blog, please take a minute of silence and include the Philippines in your thoughts and prayers. Any positivity is highly-appreciated. Thank you! 🙏🙏