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Typhoon Cosme: During and After
Monday, May 19, 2008
The electricity was down since 4pm Saturday, May 17, 2008. We were supposed to attend an anticipated mass in Dagupan City but because the storm signal was raised to level three, we decided not to go. We turned on the generator at 6pm, in time for our early dinner, decided that we will turn it off at 9pm. While the generator was on, we read about the storm in the internet. It said that the storm had a velocity of 130 kph and that it will directly hit our area. We started to get ready by having first an early dinner, store some drinking water, take a bath and sleep early, thinking that we will be able to do so.

Immediately after our dinner, we started to feel the weather becoming really bad. Heavy rains started to pour and the winds becoming stronger and stronger with each passing time. I don't think the wind velocity was 130 kph. My husband estimated it to be around 200 kph. It was something I have never experienced yet in my whole life.

My family and I started to witness the blowing of the roofs of our neighbors. The sound of the strong wind muffled the noise coming from them, but I knew we were all in big trouble. We lighted all our outside lights so that neighbors can see their way and the damage to their homes being brought by the storm. I can hear babies crying in the distance and I can feel fear from the rest of us. What if......

Water started to drip from our roof, from our windows and from other openings (like the aircon) where it can pass through. We then put rags on all openings but our efforts were nothing compared to the non-stop heavy rains and gusty winds. I cannot even imagine how leaves are able to enter even with all doors and windows close. We spent some time mopping floors and transferring appliances from one place to another. Our plan of having an early bedtime did not materialize as we were anticipating what will happen next.

We were so afraid so we opted not to turn the generator off anymore. It was 2am and I still can't find sleep. I move up and down the house checking on things. The signage leading to the clinic was gone. Lots of trees uprooted and blocking the highway thus causing traffic to big trucks passing by. It was already around 4 am when sleep finally visited me.

I was awaken at 6am Sunday by the sound of people shouting, pounding roofs, and of trees being trimmed. I was relieved to see the morning and to know that we were all safe. Though still sleepy, I immediately got out of bed, got my camera and went outside to take pictures. What I saw shocked me. All the houses surrounding us were damaged, some partially others totally. It was still early but the clothes' lines were already full of wet clothing. More trees were down. Even the vegetable plantation in our backyard was gone. Everybody was busy cleaning and fixing.

containers for catching dripping water

houses with roofs blown away

my husband fixing the post where the signage used to be

a tree on the roof top

more trees brought down

a neighbor's house

our backyard

a neighbor's house

I went through our house, found out that there are minor things that needed fixing, and still no electricity. The news said that it will take several days before the electric company resumes service. That only means we need to store diesel for the generator. We went around to buy but all gasoline stations were close. That means we have to make do with what we have until normal operations resume.

Cleaning started. That was a totally different Sunday from what we used to have but I am very thankful to God for what we have. We still have a home, we still have each other.
My laundrywoman came over early this morning telling me that houses in their area were all blown away including hers. "Mabuti pa kayo tumulo lang, kami wala nang tirahan", she said. Even concrete houses along the shoreline were blown away, according to her, yet the news reports say only small figures were totally devastated. I cannot believe what's on the news. What we experienced was far from just signal number three. It was a super super typhoon accompanied by a tornado. That is how I see it and we were not even warned. It was signal number two the whole day of Saturday and was just raised to three two hours before it hit us.
The sky was still gloomy the whole day yesterday, we thought it will still rain. But thank God there was not a single drop of rain, allowing people to clean and fix houses. Today is a sunny day but everything is still far from over. I hope everybody is able to pick up the pieces and face life all over again.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 10:15 AM   4 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
See my complete profile
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