By Cheryl Ravelo
Two years after the devastating typhoon Ketsana hit Manila on September 26, followed by Typhoon Parma a week later, I thought this year would just be to commemorate the tragedy of those twin typhoons whose magnitude of destruction was historic for this country. But, I never knew we would relive it again, and this time with much greater damage brought by Typhoons Nesat and Nalgae.
When I went out to cover Nesat, I said to myself it’s just another typhoon, got some pictures of school cancellations, knee-deep flooding and villagers pre-emptively evacuating with their families, belongings and pets.
But the situation seemed to be getting worse when Bobby started photographing the already flooded U.S. Embassy along Manila Bay, something that has never happened in recent history. Storm surges created waves as high as the coconut trees lining the seawall. An oil tanker ran aground, almost hitting hundreds of shanties along the coastline of south harbor.
In the midst of it all, I chased breaking news announced over the radio, that three children together with their grandmother were buried alive by a collapsed wall due to the strong winds of Nesat.
I arrived there in time as rescuers were trying to recover the unfortunately dead bodies of the victims. I climbed on one of the three fire trucks on the scene to get an unobstructed angle for my photos. By then, I was already soaked in rainwater and the cold wind chilled me as I waited for rescuers to look through the rubble. They first pulled the young girl out. As the relatives comforted each other, a boy stayed outside, weeping silently as he awaited the recovery of the other bodies.