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.
 
'Tsunami' 

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.

Loading...

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.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors
    No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors

    Instead of filing an opposition, ombudsman prosecutors filed a manifestation yesterday expressing belief that there is no urgent need for Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to visit his son at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. “Based on the clinical abstract issued by the Asian Hospital on patient (Cavite) Vice-governor (Jolo) Revilla, which was submitted by accused Revilla in support of his Urgent Motion, Vice-governor Revilla is in stable condition and has stable vital signs, as of March 1, …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options