March 23, 2023

I watched with anguish the film clips shown by CNN and BBC portraying the gory details of the earthquake that occurred in Turkiye last week. The gadgets of modern technology brought right into my bedroom the shocking and sorry sight of what Turkiye suffered on that fateful day. Only a soulless person will not cringe in fear and sympathy on what the people of Turkiye are going through.
One image that was caught on CCTV was that of a building about 30 stories high that stood proudly in the middle of the city. Slowly, it started to sway, its mighty posts seemingly able to stand the initial tremor. As the shaking became stronger, the building started to dance with the earth. It swayed from side to side, jolting up and down as if on a pogo stick. The tremor gained strength and as it did, the building could no longer withstand the pressure.
Like a sand castle washed by the ripple of the ocean, the building started to crumble piece by piece, floor by floor until the whole of its weight could no longer hold its bulk. The whole of the structure came crashing down burying under its rubble thousands of innocent lives.
Then, the video became dark with only the eerie cries and shouts of survivors being heard from a distance. Obviously, they were not prepared for this catastrophe. They are not the only ones unprepared.
Nobody really expects when and where earthquakes are going to happen. There are already technologies that can predict storms and typhoons but not earthquakes. Turkiye is a progressive country yet, it was not able to anticipate that in the month of February, which is supposed to be the love month, will be a month of mourning. As of the latest count, more than 20,000 Turkish people perished due to the earthquake.
Since no one can predict earthquakes, the best that can be done is just to be prepared. Preparation does not mean finding ways and means to prevent an earthquake. That is impossible to do since earthquakes are acts of God that inevitably must happen in every land. The tectonic movement of lands and oceans create tremors and as long as the earth continues revolving in its orbit, these tremors will continue. It is a natural cycle of the earth. Yes, no country is spared from earthquakes.
Our country, the Philippines, has had its share of earthquakes among which is the July 16, 1990 killer earthquake. Since Baguio City was one of those severely hit, we, as long time and senior residents of Baguio, are nostalgic every time we watch another earthquake of the same magnitude happening in another country.
We compare their experience with ours. We feel their pain and their fear. We can taste the bitter emotion of their helplessness. For us who lived to survive an earthquake like that, we are thankful and at the same time cautious because we know for a fact that it may happen again.
A few years back, it was projected that a strong earthquake is bound to happen in Metro Manila since several of its cities that comprise the metropolis lie on a fault line. Pray that when this happens, we are prepared.
So, to be able to overcome the adverse effects of an earthquake, we ought to be prepared. We ought to learn our lessons from past experiences and from what happened in Turkey. Our disaster preparedness shall dictate whether we can cope up with an earthquake or not. But most important of all, we must pray that when the big earthquake will hit our country, the danger it poses will be manageable and the people affected minimal.