Sunday, September 27, 2009

water conquers all?

In 1953, a storm hit the Netherlands. In the province of Zeeland, ships and boats went aground. Houses sank in the deepest whirlpool of the angry North Sea. Thousands were homeless, and close to another thousand vanished in the sea. It was a nightmare that the Dutch people will never forget.




Let me tell you something about Zeeland. It is a province where the formation of the land is so much influenced by the water. Much land is reclaimed and lost to the sea. Pretty much like my very own homeland, the archipelagic Philippines. The difference is that Zeeland is a province of polders, dams, dikes and bridges while Philippines is, well,... a country of more than 7,100 islands.




The tragedy of 1953 taught the Dutch a valuable lesson. They have to protect themselves from the rough North Sea and put an end to the never-ending battle with water. They built the Deltawerken. (click on the link to read more about it. I have been there in 2005. Amazing place! If you are planning a trip to the Netherlands, you must go to Zeeland , see the Deltaworks & visit Neeltje Jans.)


Last night, I received a heart rending news from friends and relatives. Manila went under water. Typhoon Ondoy literally twirled the city within its fingers and left many people homeless and in despair.



Like in any other disaster, officials start pointing fingers at each other. The President, who is occupying the highest seat in the chain of command, is being blamed for everything. I don't know what to think and say. I mean, surely, it's not her fault if storms and typhoon hit the country. Her number one priority is economic recovery. So they say.

As I sit here, and watch all the youtube videos forwarded to me, I wonder why can't we follow the suit of the Dutchmen, in terms of addressing the problem of water. During a short chit-chat with the governor of my hometown last April, she said that windmills are being built by Dutch engineers to generate power. That's great, I thought.

But what about losing land to the sea? How about the floods and overflowing rivers that had been plaguing the capital? What are government officials doing, in terms of governance and allocation of funds? Are fiestas and other merrymakings really more important than infrastructure? tsk...tsk...tsk..

Sources of photograps: (1 & 3) Holland. Herman van Amsterdam and Jan Vermeer. (2) postcard (4) www.inquirer.net

15 comments:

Aledys Ver said...

I'm sorry to hear about the floods in Manila! I hope all your family and friends are OK!
What the Dutch have done with their country, literally building it themselves, recovering land from the sea and fending it from the water - is truly amazing. Their determination to fight on despite having nature against them, is a characteristic that I certaily admire.
Cheers!

buday said...

Mas grabe niyan an blame game because the elections will be on May next year na. Fuerte an opposition sa paghanap sala' san administrasyon. Badaw. Dili baga, kikaraluskos anay an mga Armani suits ninda nan nalusong sa laboy, hahaha.

Whitemist said...

My prayers are with all who have family in the Philippines.

Droomvla said...

@Aledys: Thanks for your kind words. My family´s ok. Thank God for that.

Yes, the Dutch are very hardworking and determined people. I, too, admire those qualities. :)

Droomvla said...

@buday: i-auction na an US$3,000 worth na bado san tanda ko, manggad pa makadagdag sa ayuda. HAHAHAHAHA

Droomvla said...

@Whitemist: Thank you very much. :)

Aledys Ver said...

It's good to hear your loved ones are OK. I've been watching the news, and it's been terrible.
I hope that those who have lost all they have will get help from the rest of the population and from ONGs?

A Touch of Dutch said...

Thanks for sharing about this too! I was just thinking about this a few nights ago but was too busy to look it up, so it's cool to see.

My Google Reader is down at the moment, so I am glad I saw your update via another blog [Aledys Ver's blog] while I have time today to browse around. Have a great week!

A Touch of Dutch said...

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to post my last comment yet, but I pressed the button anyway. Wanted to also say I thought about the floods in the Netherlands when I saw about this on the news in the Philippines. Hoping for the best for everyone there!

Jesusa said...

i'm glad your family in manila survived this!

Droomvla said...

@Aledys: I stopped watching news regarding Ondoy. I feel so helpless, and am annoyed by all the drama that is going on. On FB, a couple of acquaintances and former students (who live in exclusive subdivisions back in the Philippines) are posting all these annoying messages. One said that he is donating his one month salary to the victims. I mean really! Does he have to announce that on facebook? If he wants to help, by all means, HELP. Don´t announce it to the whole world.

So, I am shutting down on all their hullaballoos that are really a cry for attention.

So sorry about my outburst here. I simply had had enough of it.

Droomvla said...

@A Touch of Dutch: Great to see you again here. Thanks! I wanted to say more about Zeeland, but my blog was about the flood.

BTW, I really had a bad day today so thanks for your kind wishes. :)

Droomvla said...

@Jesusa: Please don´t say that, although I know that you mean well. Ma is hooked to an oxygen tank most of the time. I don´t want to even think about the what ifs. It´s too upsetting.

cherie said...

the recent catastrophe is an instant eye-opener for all of us. i am praying that we get through this, with our faith in God and our spirit as a people intact.

thamarai said...

Such things are so scary..sitting here, and hearing back stories from home makes me worry a lot too...and now the floods have hit southern parts of India as well...Nature can be so merciless at times...I hope things settle down soon. Everybody you know is okie?