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Taal and PH’s many other  natural  disasters

EDITORIAL

Updated

E CARTOON JAN 15, 2020
The  Philippines  was  in the news around the world when typhoon Phanfone – which carried the local name Ursula – struck the Visayas on Christmas Day. It was a terrible time to lose homes and family members.  At least 50 were killed in the typhoon and 2.1 million  people were  forced to seek refuge in evacuation centers; some 85,000 were still in the evacuation centers on New Year’s Eve.

The country was again in the news around the world last Monday, this time  because of the  eruption  of Taal Volcano, well known to tourists  looking  down  from  the surrounding ridge of Tagaytay  City. Where else can  people  normally  look down into a volcano’s crater?

The crater has its own lake,  so  it has become known as a lake within an island within a lake.  After  being  quiet  in the last 43 years, Taal erupted  Sunday afternoon,  spewing ashes hat fell on surrounding aeas in Batangas, Cavite,  and Laguna.

Taal  is the country’s  second most active volcano, next  to Mayon in Albay. There are 100 Philippine volcanos  listed  by  the Smithsonian  Institution’s Global Volcanism Program  in the United States, but only 23 are listed as active by the Philippine Institute  of Volcanology and Seismology. These include the Banahaw in Laguna and Quezon,  Biliran  in Biliran near  Leyte, Bulusan  in Sorsogon, Camiguin and  Didicas in Cagayan, Hibok-Hibok  in Camiguin,  and Kanlaon in Negros Occidental  and Negros  Oriental,   which have  intermittently  come to life over  the  centuries.

The most destructive in recent times was the eruption  of Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales  in 1991  that killed around  350 people, covered many areas of land with lahar, and affected weather  around  the world for months.  It led to the evacuation by the Americans  of Clark Air Base in Pampanga and of Subic Naval Base in Zambales.

Philippine  volcanos  are part of the “Ring of Fire”  surrounding the  Pacific Ocean. Also in this same “Ring of Fire” are  constantly  shifting  masses  of earth  that  cause earthquakes in the land above them.  Our islands also lie along the favorite paths  of  typhoons  fhat  form  in the Pacific, then move  west  toward the Asian  mainland or swerve north into Japan.

We have  learned  to live with all these  natural events  that  have  caused  so much destruction and death.   They have made us what we are as a people,  used to difficulties  and suffering, but ready to continue  forward.

The national economy may not have progressed  sufficiently for everyone to have decent  work locally, but  Filipinos have responded by spreading around  the world to work as doctors and nurses, engineers and construction workers, office managers and information technology  experts,  and  as housekeepers and caregivers despite  their college training as teachers and other  professionals.

So today, we have Taal Volcano  eruptimg.  It may cause  great destruction and take many lives. We can expect   many  bv  other   problems  and difficulties to come our way – earthquakes, typhoons, floods and droughts. But  we  are used  to  them and we  will  not just survive them.  We will draw  strength  from them.

 

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