I just came from Butuan City in Agusan del Norte and while there I witnessed first hand the not so pleasant effects of the constant rain the region has been been subject to in the past week or so.
Meteorologists have been blaming the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone) for the wet weather in the the southern Philippines. With the almost non-stop rain, many areas in the Caraga Region, which include the two Agusan and the two Surigao provinces, have began to experience flash floods and landslides while road conditions have rapidly deteriorated with many areas isolated as road sections become impassable and bridges damaged or washed out.
As usual, it is the remote and far flung towns and barangays that get the worst of it particularly those that are located near the banks of rivers and their tributaries. Communities, for example, along the banks of the mighty Agusan River are especially vulnerable and the residents of a number of them have been evacuated for their own safety.
On the way home from Butuan, I passed by many of the flooded areas and had to maneuver slowly and carefully through damaged dirt roads scoured by the rushing flood waters. Not exactly the best time to travel in this part of the country but then who said that we who live here have any choice in the matter. We have to take what nature gives us and do the best to survive.
Inevitably one ponders the question of how much of man's negligence and abuse of the environment is responsible for the lives lost and the hardships and difficulties local residents have to endure during periods of heavy rainfall. For sure the denudation of the once lush forests of the Caraga region is a big factor in the incidence of flash floods and landslides. So too are the lack of adequate preventive measures on the part of the local governments and also their inability to prepare adequately for the negatives effects of the yearly rainy season or any period of unreasonably rainy weather conditions for that matter.
Like the yearly floods in many city streets of Metro Manila, this problematic situation is an often regular thing and in any ways the locals have relied far more on their own ingenuity and resilience than from the feeble efforts of their government leaders to find ways and means to mitigate and alleviate their suffering.
In the meantime as the rain continues to pour down from the heavens, the people in the region resign themselves to the rigors, inconveniences and tragedies of life in a wet, cold and flooded world. They all long for respite from the constant rain and and dream of the coming of hot sunshine and clear skies knowing that the same time next year, the probability is high that they would have to go through the whole thing again.