Lim: PTSD from Ruping

·3 min read

As we braced for Omicron to spread like wildfire in our communities, Odette stealthily swept through Cebu in the evening of December 16 and left us all shell-shocked.

I had been telling our staff in the last few days to sweep our rooftops of anything that could possibly fly into the air with Odette’s arrival. I had been nagging for days for necessary extractions in the garden as when the winds come, it will be too late.

I know they thought I was being extra. But they had not lived through Ruping.

I asked for the plants to be brought in. I could tell they were not convinced. They grudgingly brought in more than a few pots but left about the same number out in the garden to later be mercilessly massacred by Odette. I tear up when I think of those sacrificial plants meeting an untimely death due to obstinacy and sloth.

When the winds began to howl after dinner, our staff had to come back into the house to board something up. Seeing the plants they had brought in earlier from the garden wildly swaying from the wind just filtering in through the screened door, they suddenly realized what tragic fate awaited the rest of the plants they had thoughtlessly left outside.

An eleventh-hour rescue managed to save more plants. But the rest had to become casualties of Odette’s wrath. The winds were getting stronger every second. Had they not rolled their eyes earlier, we could have saved everyone. Every single plant.

I hate to say it but the untimely demise of those plants is on you now.

I have lived through many storms in my life. But the one that will forever be etched in my mind is that of Ruping. Packing gale force winds of 220kph, it barreled through Cebu in the evening of November 12, 1990.

Eighty-eight ships sank in the harbor. Water and power lines went down. In the next 30 days, water had to be rationed. It took a month for power to be restored. The Mactan-Mandaue Bridge was unusable which affected access to the airport and supply of gas and crude oil. Ruping caused some P10B in damage and affected more than a million families in Central Visayas.

Thirty-one years ago. But I still suffer from PTSD.

Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) which made landfall in the country on November 8, 2013 did not hit Cebu City directly. So, we’ve been a bit complacent for a while now. Let’s not be.

Remember the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol on October 15, 2013? I still shudder from its memory.

Odette is gone. But Omicron has just arrived. Before you roll your eyes, consider listening to the voices of those who have lived through some traumatic events in their lives and still suffer from PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is no party. It causes you a lot of undue anxiety but it does make you prepared for many things in life.

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