New words Yolanda taught me

New words Yolanda taught me

I’m sure everybody knows Yolanda, she who broke a lot of hearts, damaged houses and properties, caused widespread destruction and claimed so many lives. After this super typhoon that wiped out some parts of Leyte and Samar, the name is now associated with a mix of emotions – feelings of loss, anger and devastation, as well as hope, determination and optimism.

I’ve also learned some new words from Yolanda. I know she has taught us more than new words though – looking at life as a very fragile thing, being grateful with what we have, building relationships and sharing our possessions, and so much more. Anyway, what are the new words I’m talking about? Here they are:

1. Storm surge. What made most of the people in Tacloban unprepared was their lack of knowledge about a storm surge. They were warned against storm surges but were not aware that these are dangerously similar to a tsunami or tidal wave. To easily define things in logic: earthquake is to tsunami as storm is to surge. Even the mayor’s wife lamented that they were not told about the dangers of a storm surge. People are familiar with tsunamis and tidal waves. Had they been warned about a coming tsunami, they could have evacuated to higher grounds. Personally, before the storm surge in Tacloban happened, I am clueless about this word too.

2. Body bags. The tragedy in Tacloban and nearby towns resulted to high demand for this. This is the first time I’ve heard of such a word. Really heartbreaking.

3. Air drop. Food packs and other relief goods are dropped from helicopters as some areas don’t have wide spaces for landing. A smart and practical way of delivering the goods speedily instead of waiting for access roads to be cleared up. Two thumbs up to Bo Sanchez and other organizations in using this method to deliver relief goods to remote areas affected by Yolanda.

So far, these are the words Yolanda taught me. I hope there won’t be any more warnings about storm surges, and if there would be (God forbid), our government will be more prepared and know better. It’s just so heartbreaking to see photos showing a long line of body bags by the roadside but I feel hopeful to see more helicopters reaching remote typhoon-ravaged areas to air drop relief goods.

How about you? What new words have you learned from Yolanda?

Photo by AFP/Ted Aljibe
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