When Calamity Strikes

Typhoon Frank hit the central part of the country a couple of weeks ago. It dumped an unprecedented amount of rain to many parts of the country along its path. Worst hit was the Panay island including the city of Iloilo and the neighboring towns. Accounts reaching Manila indicate horror stories of whole families perishing in the flash floods. One father left his wife and kid near a mango tree to retrieve one more child from their  almost submerged house. When he came back, his wife and other kid were gone, swallowed by the murky waters. Homes were smashed by rampaging waters in areas near rivers. When the water receded, many streets of Iloilo City were impassable due to deep mud, debris as well as vehicles cluttering the streets, some piled on top of each other. I was born in Iloilo and spent my thirty years in that place. i haven't heard of any calamity hitting the province, much less the city of this magnitude. As of Sunday night, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said 718,457 families or an equivalent of 3,622,958 people were affected by the calamity. These victims came from 5,140 barangays from 395 towns and 53 cities in 48 provinces. Typhoon damage to livelihood, infrastructure and agriculture was estimated to cost not less than P7 billion.

relief02.jpg Watching and hearing about the physical, financial and emotional sufferings of the victims of this natural calamity, we could not help but be moved by the situation. Something has to be done somehow. This was a time to act and not just to pity and do nothing. So last Wednesday, we sent letters to all Eastbridge families informing them of the school's campaign to send relief goods to the thousands of displaced, hungry and sick typhoon victims in Iloilo. Oh how our heart warmed to the kind of response that we got from them. Clothes, groceries and cash were contributed by various families.  It was an occasion that we hoped provide the opportunity for parents and their children to talk about natural disasters and the sufferings they bring and how those of us who are not affected should come to the aid of those whose lives and properties were lost.

relief03.jpg Eastbridge has always espoused  a school's community work and involvement. Unless we have integrated social content to our students' education, we have not really educated them beyond their own personal need. That is not how we envision this institution and its graduates to be. It's unfortunate that calamities like this one have to become the backdrop for this aspect of our kid's education. But then again, isn't the problem of suffering been the recipe of heaven to awaken our sense of humanity and make us respond to the needs of others? As much as we would like to shield our kids from the stark and unplesant realities of life, we wouldn't want them to lose sight of the bigger issues that will confront them when they're old. Instead, young as they are, we teach them the value of rising to the occasion and share whatever is necessary for the good of the many. We could never be more proud at the involvement of our Eastbridge families in times like this.

relief04.jpg Last Friday afternoon, all the contributions were brought to ABS-CBN foundation for shipment to Iloilo.