Thinking Beyond the Flood


Two weeks ago, I was fortunate to have been chosen by my employer to conduct a home visit to some of my colleagues from Marikina who were severely affected by the flooding.  The amount of debris piling both sides of the streets in one subdivision I visited, and the stench that overpowered the surroundings,  made me feel I was reliving the devastation brought by war.

Meanwhile, it’s been almost a month now yet the seat of the city government of Pasig is still flooded–the City Hall, the Hall of Justice, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Police Office, the Post Office, the Bereau of Internal Revenue office, the Market, et cetera. The City Government constructed bridges made of coco lumber connecting all the offices and the dry land so that people can still transact business with these government offices without getting wet.

In my text message to a friend who is into photography, I told her that she should come visit Pasig to at least take pictures. Instead of road and concrete pavements, she will see water, water, and water. So, instead of cars, she will see boats pulled, pushed, or paddled by men. Two or three of the boats I saw were long and narrow.  But most of the boats there now are made of plywood, about three feet wide and four to six feet long, hastily assembled to ferry passengers for a fee. How often do we see a woman sitting down in a boat holding a blue umbrella in the center of the city? It only happens during disasters like this one. Surely, the City and the National Governments are doing something to make sure this crisis will not happen again.

The number of people affected including those in Cavite and the neighboring provinces that stretch as far as the Cordilleras, and the number of deaths have caused the declaration of a State of National Calamity by the President. Even as I write now, another super typhoon is again heading towards the Philippines. There will be more rain, more land and mudslide, more flood, more families affected that will need more help. And help comes from our wealthy companies, brothers, and sisters, and also from around the world.

As our country is busy with the relief operations, reconstruction, planning and prevention of similar catastrophe, the international community, headed by the United States, is doing its best to stop Iran from continuing its nuclear program. Although Iran, through its president  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, insisti that the program is for projects other than the building of nuclear weapons, people are not convinced. And as Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Alfred Kissinger in an interview with Fox News puts it, what will stop Iran’s neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt from acquiring their own weapon of mass destruction after Iran? They will stop at nothing to build their own WMD also as a deterrent against any threat or actual nuke attack. As a Newsweek reader puts it, “The world may not end if Iran gets the bomb, but it would surely be changed irrevocably for the worst. It is the ultimate geopolitical nightmare: the world’s worst weapon in the hands of a radical…”

What would countries do with their nukes if not to obliterate another enemy country by preemptive strike or in retaliation? And if countries throw nukes at each other, what will happen to humanity?

More and more countries are having this WMD and it will only be a matter of time before one uses it against another and vice versa.

This situation is almost impossible to imagine. But like the flood that inundated cities and whole provinces, we also did not think it could happen. It makes sense that as we (with our government) prepare ourselves for the next flood, we also prepare and combat the proliferation of nuclear weapons because, once unleashed, its effect is beyond what we have imagined yet.

With the flood, we can swim or save ourselves if we are on a higher ground. We can avoid leptospirosis by staying out of the flood water; if we get sick, people will distribute medicines, or  volunteers will bring them to the hospitals. Evacuees will receive relief goods. With a nuclear attack, none of that will work. There will be no help, no rescue.

Unlike the flood, the nuke will wipe us all.

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