Tuesday, June 25, 2019

What is the House First Line of Defence

When Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991 I away from home to pursue my Bachelor's degree, where I left my parent's home where I and my siblings grew up perfectly fine. The memories of our home that was in my mind became a disaster when the volcano erupted and damaged most of the house. The devastation went goes as far as the neighboring cities, and as far as counties and state worldwide as being reported. Even where I was that time the ash that fell from the eruption was very evident. 

"Pinatubo is most notorious for its Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) 6 eruption on June 15, 1991, the second-largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century after the 1912 eruption of Novarupta in Alaska. Complicating the eruption was the arrival of Typhoon Yunya, bringing a lethal mix of ash and rain to towns and cities surrounding the volcano. Predictions at the onset of the climactic eruption led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the surrounding areas, saving many lives. Surrounding areas were severely damaged by pyroclastic surges, ash falls, and subsequently, by the flooding lahars caused by rainwater re-mobilizing earlier volcanic deposits. This caused extensive destruction to infrastructure and changed river systems for years after the eruption"

And, because of this, I wasn't able to go home for months, roads were closed, no commodities are coming in, banks were closed, the scarcity of water supply was present. These are all the stories that were told by my family and friends when the situation was a little settled. 

It was my first time away from home, from family and friends because of school, and the sight when I came back after five longing months was unexplainable; sadness and hopeless were mixed at the same time. But, I am glad that no one from the family got hurt and they were all there when I came back. 

It was our house who suffered a lot, it is the ancestral house of my grandparents', basically, the house was made of mixed wood and concrete. Mostly wood panels as what the earlier construction of the houses back then was made. The damaged was very evident in the roofing as the weight of the ashes (lahar) and debris were caught in the roofing, and according to them during the eruption they cannot shovel the debris on the roof to lessen the weight because it was very dark outside, electricity was shut off, and day turned into night. The roofing of the house or the building is the primary defense of the structure, it needs to withstand the heat, water, and pressure of the outside surrounding and prevent and protect what is inside of the building. If this is damaged all the belongings and also life can be put at risk. 

They waited several days for the situation to calm at least making them move outside. Even the government under the department of public works and highways cannot attend all the needs of the people in the city, rescue operations were made alongside the clearing operations. Evidence of lahar continued as major floodings were felt massively!

Even buildings and other establishments were damaged from this catastrophe and it took years to recover. Although the damage was massive it was all temporary, houses were built, establishments were reconstructed and home raised again. 

The Pinatubo eruption was a history of the past but the memories of the ones who felt and experienced it was a memory to tell. 


  1. A scary but inspiring story of rising up from a catastrophe to create something new. Gives me something to think about when it comes to natural disaster preparedness.

  2. Wow, sorry to hear you and your family suffered this devastation. You really don't know how things like this can affect you until it hits close to home. I remember a year ago or so when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and my best friend and family were in the area. It took a long time for the city to recover..it hits home, doesn't it?

  3. That would be so horrible to have to come back to that. At the same time you can realize how important family is and you really get a sense of what the most important thing to you really is. Would be hard to be away from family and friends during that time.

  4. It's so hard to deal with the loss of your family home. A friend of mine went through something similar with a hurricane and their house had to be completely rebuilt. The good news was that their parents were okay and most of their belongings.

  5. It's quite a daunting experience for people who have been greatly affected by this calamity. But Filipinos are known for their resilience. All these memories are stored but people get back up on their feet and build a new life.

  6. Growing up in the Philippines, I am quite familiar with all the calamities we have experienced. From typhoons, to floods and even volcanic eruption. The filipino resilience is really something.