How a school principal saved town from typhoon
Hundreds of people died in the Philippine city of Tacloban when it was hit by a super typhoon. But in a neighboring small town which also bore the full force of 300kph winds, not one life was lost - thanks to the town's secondary school principal Rodel Carino.
Rodel's town was devastated in 1991 by Typhoon Uring which claimed more than 5,000 lives nationwide. This tragedy energised Rodel to do something that would help prevent such tragedies in the future. He worked tirelessly for the building of an extra large school gymnasium that would withstand the strongest typhoon.
When Rodel first proposed his idea, he was laughed at and told such a project was unnecessary and too expensive. But he persevered, badgering local and national authorities and corporations for funding, even obtaining some funding from overseas agencies. His project took more than twelve years to complete, but eventually it was opened in 2004 and has served as an emergency shelter for his town on a number of occasions.
The gym can house more than two thousand people, has a kitchen and large toilet-shower facility, has a permanent supply of mattresses, emergency food and medical items, as well as its own power generator and water tanks. When the November 7 typhoon struck, Rodel's town suffered not one fatality, because the whole township was in the gym. It was like Noah's Ark.
This story is just a parable, not a true story, but hopefully there are some Rodels in the Philippines who will make this story come true, and may there also be Rodels in other countries which are prone to frequent typhoons, given that climate change is going to increase the frequency and intensity of such typhoons