A few days ago, the Philippines had to endure one of the many typhoons that visit the country every year. There was devastation along its path but for most of us, what's new? However, there was something different with this storm. To start with, the areas hit were usually the ones spared and the number od human lives lost was something else. The country seldom has as many deaths within a small area, compared to this one. This time, around 845 passengers of a ship that has a capacity of 2.500 were declared missing after the ship (MV Princess of the Stars) capsized.
All the papers and online publications are talking about the details of the tragedy but I am yet to hear and read anything that deals with the lessons derived from it. Since that disaster was not the last that this planet can possibly expect, let us talk about survival methods that derived based on the experiences of the survivors.
An examination of the account of survivors from the ill-fated Princess of the Stars, here are some things that people need to keep in mind in order to survive.
Life Jackets. One survivor recounted that one of them became so overwhelmed with joy at having made it to the life raft. He took off his life jacket and a big wave wept him out into the sea. He was promptly swallowed by the water not be seen again. The others, who kept their life jackets on, lived.
Save yourself. Give priority to yourself. Wear your lifejacket while urging others to do the same. Do not make the mistake of disregarding yourself while helping others. Remember, with you secured with your lifejacket, you get into a better position to help others.
Presence of mind.They person who took off his jacket was said to have done it out of happiness for having safely boarded a life raft. Had he not been complacent, he would have saved himself.
A survivor narrated that the people on board the same life raft with him were calm. They sat facing each other to equalize the weight distribution in the life raft. Nobody made unnecessary movements that can possible shift the weight from one side to the other. That helped prevent their raft from overturning amidst the high waves that tossed their raft from side to side during the storm.
Team Work. Without any prodding, all aboard the raft did their share in scooping water out in order to keep their boat from sinking.
Sharing. Another survivor narrated how they found a small sachet of instant coffee and shared every granule amongst each other for nourishment. Imagine how little the coffee was, and yet, it sustained them.
Such story reminds me of the New Testament where Jesus prayed on a basket of bread and fish and asked his apostles to distribute it to a hungry crowd of several thousands. Somehow, it was able to feed the entire multitude with plenty of leftovers. Just recently, I read an article about a possible explanation. The article explained that it was actually the people who made it all happen. They initially refused to share the food that they packed, thinking that the crowd will all go for it leaving them with nothing. But as the near empty basket was passed, they all ended putting contributing their surplus which was able to feed the lot with plenty to spare.
For me, this is a lesson that even during times of scarcity; it pays to be generous with what little resource we have.