Items filtered by date: Sunday, 24 December 2017

IN PHOTOS: Revisiting Cagayan de Oro's dwindling forest cover

DEFORESTATION. Logs washed away after the onslaught of Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi) in December 2011. All file photos by Rhaydz B. Barcia/Rappler 

 
 
 
 
 
 

MANILA, Philippines – Six years ago, a devastating tropical cyclone also hit Northern Mindanao in December, leaving more than 1,200 people dead, around 6,000 injured, and over 180 others missing.

Hardest hit by Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi) in December 2011 were the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

 

Sendong dumped more than a month's worth of average rainfall in just 12 hours back then, triggering deadly flash floods and landslides. 

In the aftermath of the disaster, climate change experts such as lawyer Tony La Viña pointed out that there was a need to stop destructive activities like illegal logging, which have led to deforestation in Northern Mindanao and other regions. (READ: After Sendong, 10 things we must do)

This writer was able to document the thinning forests of Mindanao through Philippine Air Force (PAF) reconnaissance and humanitarian missions, together with a team from Albay organized by the local government.

We spotted not just landslides but also huge logs swept away by raging waters in Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City, as shown in the photos below. The environmental degradation was evident, aggravating the situation in inundated areas.

     
     
     
     
     

Six years after Sendong battered Northern Mindanao, Severe Tropical Storm Vinta (Tembin) – which later intensified into a typhoon – brought torrential rain, heavy flooding, and landslides to the region and surrounding areas. The death toll has topped 200, with tens of thousands displaced. – Rappler.com

 
 
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20 killed in Christmas Day road crash in La Union

CHRISTMAS CRASH. A jeepney runs straight against a bus in Agoo, La Union. Photo from Agoo Police

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – At least 20 people were killed and 15 others were injured in a Christmas Day road collision in Agoo, La Union.

According to Agoo police chief Chief Inspector Roy Villanueva, a bus crashed with a jeepney along the national highway at around 3:30 am on Monday, December 25.

"'Yung pong fatalities natin ay nasa 20 na po, and then sa jeep po 'yun lahat ang occupants po noon (Our fatalities are at 20 already and they're all from the jeep, its occupants)," Villanueva told Rappler in a phone interview.

The local police chief added that the jeepney was privately owned, while the bus was owned by operating company Partas.

Villanueva said their investigators are still probing the area of the incident and clarifying with survivors what happened.

This is the second time, Villanueva said, that a road crash transpired in Agoo in recent years. The last road disaster there happened also during the Christmas season, on December 22, 2016, leaving at least one dead.

Nonetheless, the police official said, the highway has still not been declared an "accident-prone area." – Rappler.com

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[EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: Reasons to smile this season

In the bloodied streets of Metro Manila, or the flooded villages in Northern Mindanao, Christmas may seem like an unwelcome visitor today, bearing not gifts but bags of burden and bad memories. The past 12 months have not been easy for many of us here and in other parts of the world, that if only we could end the year soon enough and bury it.

Yet, the season is not so much about giving as it is about thanksgiving. It's not so much about the merrymaking as it is about celebrating what others have done for us to ease life a bit, to make things better, to give us hope.

There's logic to why Christmas comes at year's end. It's an annual dose of cheer that we all need in a world made more complex and demanding by our wishes that no longer match its humble beginnings in a manger. It's a constant reminder of the reality that we often fail to see – that the intangibles are enough for Christmas, especially in the toughest of times: family, friends, community; a sense of purpose, a meaning to what we do.

At Rappler, we are grateful for many reasons this season.

For the days when you helped us survive the torrent of hate and scorn.

For the times when you exposed the lies and confronted the fake.

For the grief that you shared so that others may learn.

For the questions you never got tired of asking.

For the passion that you put in the work that you do.

For the acts of courage that you showed as they knocked on your doors.

For the peace that you built in the cities that they seized.

For the wars that you fought to defend the innocent.

For the money that you made that helped people's lives.

For the love that you expressed in small and big ways.

For the blessings that you spread with no expectation of returns.

For the little steps that you've done to make this a more caring world.

And for the year when you chose to stay honest, decent, and true.

Thank you, from all of us at Rappler.

May we all have a meaningful Christmas! – Rappler.com

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