Cristina Gonzales recounts 'Yolanda' experience

(UPDATE) The waves that washed away homes in Tacloban City seemed as if they were from a tsunami and not a storm surge, a local official on Monday insisted.
Tacloban City Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez also said residents would have been better warned by the term “tsunami” instead of “storm surge.”
“It was not a storm surge; it was definitely a tsunami,” Romualdez, who herself had to cling to life as seawater lashed Tacloban City, told the press in Makati.
The councilor, who is also wife to Mayor Alfred Romualdez, admits that she knows tsunamis are caused by quakes, but said the waves that hit them were similar.
“The water receded by about two to three kilometers from the shoreline before rushing inland. We didn’t see it but it was reported to us,” Romualdez said.
The Romualdezes, whose Tacloban City home faced the Pacific Ocean, took refuge in a nearby guesthouse even before strong winds and huge waves due to Yolanda.
But Romualdez said even the house, which they thought was sturdy enough, gave way to the storm’s wrath. “You can imagine that the winds were strong and angry,” she said.
The former actress began fearing for her and her children’s life when strong winds blew off the roof, and water came gushing almost up to the two-storey guesthouse’s ceiling.
“We had to cling to the trusses to stay alive and we stayed there for hours," Romualdez said, adding that her mayor husband was in another structure in the compound.
“My children were saying ‘Mommy, I don’t want to die.’ And I kept on telling them they’re not going to die… I just prayed and we sang songs,” Romualdez recalled.
She also said she “almost lost her husband” at the height of the storm. “He also kept praying. When the water receded, he began looking for us.”
Romualdez belied claims that her husband hid from his constituents after the storm, noting that the mayor personally supervised clearing operations in some areas.
“He even had to operate the bulldozer himself since wala nang driver na mahanap eh… We were there pero magpapapicture pa ba kami? Wala na pong pulitika,” she said.
The Tacloban councilor also lamented how rumors quickly spread about her demise. Romualdez however confirmed that some of her colleagues have yet to be accounted for.
She also appealed to the public not to judge survivors who reportedly resorted to looting in an attempt to feed themselves after the massive storm.
“Yes, there are looters but they get the supplies and share them. There are some bad elements but others are really doing it out of despair,” Romualdez said.
She even shared that her husband, who was only able to salvage the clothes on his back from the storm surge, also became beneficiary to some of the looters.
“My husband couldn’t find any pants but someone offered shorts from department stores. So at some point, even the mayor was wearing looted items,” Romualdez said.

While both storm surges and tsunamis cause huge waves that flood coastal regions, experts have noted that they are generated by different phenomena.
“A storm surge is generated by weather systems forcing water onshore over a generally limited stretch of coastline,” the Australian state weather bureau said.
A tsunami, meanwhile, “is generated by earthquakes, undersea landslides, volcanic eruptions, explosions or meteorites” and “travel great distances.”
Romualdez admitted that Tacloban City residents may have failed to appreciate the risks of a storm surge, due to lack of familiarity with the term.
“If you used the word tsunami, people would have gone up to higher places,” she said, adding that people of Tacloban “have never seen waves that big. ”
“This has not happened before,” Romualdez said, even as she noted that her constituents are used to typhoons since the city is visited by several in a year.
But the councilor said she is not blaming anyone for what could have been a miscalculation of risks. “No one could have foreseen such a disaster,” she said.
“If it happened in Metro Manila or any other city, I think the extent of the damage would be the same. It was not for lack of preparedness,” Romualdez noted.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Thai, Philippine indexes weak after trade data

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose in line with the rest of Asia on Tuesday but the Thai index pared early gains after weak trade data in April, while the Philippine benchmark ... …

  • Is your home on top of a faultline?
    Is your home on top of a faultline?

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanoly and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recently issued an updated and high-resolution "atlas" of the East Valley Fault and West Valley Fault, two major faultlines that run through sections of Metro Manila. Metro Manila may be due for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within this lifetime, say experts from the institute, among them PHIVOLCS director Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr. According to records, the last major earthquake caused by the West Valley Fault took place 357 years …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options