Typhoon Tisoy, international name Kammuri, is expected to make landfall in Luzon on Monday evening or Tuesday morning. It packs gusts of 170 kilometers per hour and maximum sustained winds of 140 kph.
Already some events of the Southeast Asian Games, which formally opened Saturday night, have been cancelled or rescheduled.
The Games, with 11 participating countries and 56 sports events, will run until December 11 with venues in Manila, Clark and Subic.
The windsurfing event in Subic, for instance, has already been cancelled “until we have a more accurate picture of the weather,” said a member of the organizing committee.
Some events have been moved up to Sunday and Monday, to enable athletes to still play in good weather.
But the sporting event is not the only thing threatened by the typhoon’s arrival. Even if we were not hosting a major international event, a powerful typhoon like Tisoy will undoubtedly bring more than an inconvenience. It could potentially cause untold damage to lives and livelihood in many parts of the Philippines.
Already, communities in Bicol have been evacuated ahead of the expected landfall. They are the ones living in coastal areas and low-lying places, prone to flash floods, storm surges, and landslides.
Tisoy will once again test the resilience of the local government —both national and local.
The typhoon is expected to move westward in the next few days, and bringing massive rainfall as it traverses Luzon before it exits in the West Philippine Sea.
Last month the whole nation commemorated the sixth anniversary of Yolanda, and remembered the thousands of lives lost in the tragedy. The commemoration also served as a wake-up call: Many years after, have we learned to do better in anticipating the effects of such a disaster instead of running around helpless and shocked?
We will see in the next few days just how effective the disaster risk reduction and management initiatives have been.
While the sun is still shining, let our national and local leaders imagine and prepare for the worst, even as we hope that the damage would not be as great as feared.