By By Fernan A. Gianan
The perils of high rise buildings
posted 22-Jan-2017  ·  
1,523 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

“Gakunog-kunog” was how evacuees from typhoon Nina who sought relative comfort and safety in multi-storey hotels described their respective shelters at the height of the storm.

Experts say the full force of a typhoon’s winds is felt beginning at the 3rd and 4th floors of a high-rise building. As such structures are made of steel and concrete, they resist and bend slightly with the wind, producing vibration.

One temporary occupant described trying to sleep in their 4th floor room as Nina raged outside. The bed was actually trembling from the wind, she said, while rain soon seeped through the windows. To their disbelief, the room had no emergency light so they also had to contend with their fear in the dark. Worse, there was no free breakfast the following morning as the hotel’s cook failed to arrive. Broken glass from the shattered glass windows also littered the perimeter of the seven-storey building.

Another ensconced at a lodging establishment near the town center describes entire rooms and corridors flooded with water after terrace doors on one side of the hotel were blown open. All or most of similar buildings in the capital town sustained water damage while some had their airconditioning units blown inside the rooms.

Meanwhile, immediate neighbors of a 10-storey building being constructed near the Virac public market had the shock of their lives during the storm when steel bars, lumber, tiles and other materials rained down on their homes. The GI roofing of one house across the street about 20 meters away was pierced by four such steel bars, causing water to pour into the residence. The steel bucket used in carrying concrete to the upper floors fell on the roof of another house. It is claimed that during the magnitude 4.6 earthquake that shook the province last week, tiles and other unsecured fell on neighboring houses.

Somehow, the experience left the “can-afford” evacuees wondering if they should seek shelter in hotels the next time a supertyphoon comes by the island. One particular disadvantage of such high rises, along with the vibration or movement with the wind, is that the owners cannot put up typhoon guards on the large glass windows unlike residential houses and similar buildings.

A much better option would be to move into a neighboring house with concrete slab roof or one with concrete gutters protecting the GI roof. The best option, of course, is to do the typhoon-proofing on your own home by installing concrete gutters or having at least one room, even the toilet, with concrete slab roofing. That way, at least you would have a place where you can shelter safely.

*****

For the third straight week, the Tribune issue carries one-color or black-and-white pictures.

We have been unable to send relatively large picture files through the intermittent and often weak internet service, after the typhoon damaged the PLDT-Smart lines in the capital town. Perhaps, through another telco, we would be able to sneak in the files for next week’s issue.

For the first time in more than a decade, there will be no “Burabod” as writer-creator Efren “ETASOR” Sorra had no time to send this issue’s piece. He has been in Legazpi and Manila for sometime now, caring for his one-and-only. Our prayers are with them as they seek God’s intercession…

*****

THE HITCHHIKER. A man stood by the side of the road hitch hiking on a very dark night in the middle of a storm. The thunder was rolling and no cars passed. The rain was so torrential that he could barely see a few feet ahead. Then suddenly he was a car come towards him and stop.

Instinctively, the man climbed into the car and shut the door, only to realize that there was nobody behind the wheel! The car started slowly. He peered through the windscreen at the road ahead and, to his horrow, saw a tight corner. Scared to death, he said a silent prayer. He was still in shock when, a few yards before the corner, a hand appeared through the window and turned the wheel. The man, paralyzed with terror, watched how the hand appeared every time the car approached a corner.

Finally he summoned the strength to escape from the moving car and run to the nearest town. Wet and shaking, he found a bar where he started telling everyone about  the terrible experience he had been through.

About half an hour later, two men walked into a bar, and one said to the other: “Look, Denzil, that’s the guy who climbed into the car while we were pushing it.”

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