Showing posts with label disasters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disasters. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The last flood experience?

Five years ago, we endured what we now look back to as our last flood experience. Here are some photos from that time when rains brought about by a typhoon flooded many areas in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas including our subdivision in the lower part of Antipolo City in Rizal Province.

The view from our old house on August 20, 2013
The view of the street from our former home on August 21, 2013
Another view of the flooded street from our former home on August 21, 2013.

I recall that after we came home from Singapore, we weren't quite ready yet to purchase property and build our new home. And so we ended up renting in condos in Quezon City and BGC during the rainy season where we stayed mostly on weekdays. On this particular day, one car was with the Clairvoyant and I already advised her against coming home that day. I left our other car (which was revived after it sank during Ondoy in 2009) at the university and rode with an officemate and came home before the flood waters rose.

This was the last serious flood we experienced and I say 'serious' because flood waters invaded our home. It was not as bad as the Ondoy of 2009 or Habagat of 2012 though as the water inside was only about 100mm at the deepest. By comparison, Ondoy was about 2m (scary!) and Habagat about 1m inside our home! At the time of the 2013 floods, our nbew house was already under construction and we were already looking forward to moving out of what we called home for 9 years.

The following year 2014, we moved out to our present home in upper Antipolo City. It would be quite improbable for our area to be flooded now and in the foreseeable future and hopefully, 2013 would be the last flood experience.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Looking back at Ondoy/Ketsana 2009

I started blogging back in 2008 and I was not really in to it at the time. I found writing to be somewhat cathartic for me after the floods of Ondoy/Ketsana so I wrote more frequently since then. Here's something I wrote a few days after Ondoy. We were reeling from the losses and could only wonder about the what-ifs.

Post deluge

My mind was full of ideas of what to write after going through what water resources engineering or hydraulic engineering textbooks term as a 40- or 50-year flood. From my experience (and I am a certified flood veteran) I am more inclined to say that what hit us last September 26 was actually a 25-year flood. I am basing this interpretation from the 1985 flood that inundated our village of Kasibulan in Cainta. Our whole family and all others from the subdivision had to evacuate our home when floods reached waist-deep at road level. We found safe haven in the factory across Imelda Avenue. The guards allowed us to seek refuge in the huge steel structures that housed heavy machinery no longer operating after the factory shutdown because of a labor problem. The striking workers actually assisted many families in getting to higher, safer ground that day.

Fortunately, no one from our village drowned from that 1985 flood. But it left a lot of deep scars that painfully reopened every year for the next 10 years that we were to experience flooding - not as terrible as 1985's but some comparable if you weren't used to them. A lot of memories were lost in those floods. My parents' wedding photos were lost including many of their photos before they got married. We were able to save many photos though - mostly mine and I'm afraid those were all damaged if not wiped out by typhoon Ondoy. We shared the same losses with our neighbors and made people closer in our village. In fact, we there were many of use there who studied at Lourdes Mandaluyong and one of our neighbors happened to be the high school principal at the time. Mr. Ben Dayo would always vouch for us when we claimed we had to miss classes because we had to help in cleaning our houses after the floods receded. I believe those floods have somehow influenced me as I grew up.

I wanted to believe that the floods in Town & Country wouldn't be deeper than what I had experienced in Kasibulan. I desperately wanted to believe that it could get deeper. But it did. When the clairvoyant and I bought a house there, one of the information I sought was about flood experience. Referring to the designs of the houses as well as neighbors stories, our home was supposed to be safe with the deepest flood experience in our area reaching only our gate. We were fortunate to have ample space in our second floor rooms. The clairvoyant and I were able to transfer our books and other personal properties with the help of Manang Aileen with an efficiency anyone can be proud off. Most importantly, we didn't have to abandon our home like many of our neighbors and we always had non-perishable food and drinks stocked. Many, we discovered afterwards, weren't as lucky as we were. We all lost our vehicles that day. Most cars went under overnight and emerged still parked in what everyone thought were garages that were flood-safe. But that's another story.

I was able to save my stamp collection from my parents' house in Kasibulan. Many items from an old brief case (what was my school bag when I was in high school)survived including old letters and bookmarks I had put aside as souvenirs from visits to Kamakura. These included old bookmarks from Tatay's visit to Kamakura in the 1960's.

The past days were blessings in that another super typhoon veered away from Metro Manila and still another will not hit the country. I honestly want to believe again that I won't experience another flood of that magnitude in say, 25 years (not the 40 years that would probably be much more damaging). If there was one thing I didn't want to share with the clairvoyant I guess an actual experience of such a flood would be it. But we did share the experience and we came out survivors (not victims as other people might label us) and I would rather believe that we came out better and will be stronger for this. We still have, after all, our faith.

We learned our lesson well and now live in a flood-free and better neighborhood in Antipolo. We are also glad that our daughter would not have to experience what we went through along with the floods due to the monsoon rains of 2012 and 2013.
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Saturday, September 26, 2015

6 years A.O. (After Ondoy)

It's now 6 years after Ondoy (Typhoon Ketsana); that particularly destructive typhoon that brought down the heaviest rainfall we ever experienced (some say 100 year flood). We lost 1 of our 2 cars and were demoralized given our investment with what used to be our home back in 2009. Our housekeeper was so stressed and depressed (it was her first time to experience such an event) that we had her take a break for some time. Our pets were also distressed and it took a while before the two ventured downstairs as we were sure they could detect the smell of flood waters that lingered even after we cleaned up and disinfected our ground floor and surroundings.

We now live on literally higher ground. After saving up for a few years, we were able to build our new home. Our dogs moved in with us last year and soon our most wonderful blessing arrived and is enjoying her room at our home - safe from the floods of Ondoy and other typhoons that may bring in floods in the future. Our kasambahay Manang is also with us along with her son whose schooling we are supporting. They, too, are happy and it seems that we can all now look back at Ondoy and its floods jokingly. It is something we would rather not experience again and we hope our former neighbors will not experience again in the future.

Today is actually a sunny day, the weather is opposite to what we experienced this time of year the last 6 years. Perhaps this is climate change happening before our very eyes? There has not been a major tropical cyclone this year so far although there have been intense (torrential) rain episodes on many days the past months and news reports mention that the El Nino this year will threaten our water supply. One thing's for sure though. El Nino is usually followed by a year associated with bad weather and heavy rains. That is not a good thing to look forward to.
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

#ReliefPH: Access and needs of other towns and provinces

The buzz on the streets and on social media is the focus on Tacloban, Leyte when vast areas and many other towns and provinces have been ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). This seems unfair to other cities and municipalities considering Yolanda made 6 landfalls at or near peak strength (as a Category 5 typhoon) with winds topping 225 kph and generating destructive storm surges as it hammered through the central Philippines.

If you have Facebook, one provincial government staff has posted a lot of photos describing the situation in the northern towns of Iloilo where the destruction caused by the typhoon is very clear and to many, still unimaginable. These photos along with all others that can be Googled, Yahooed or found via other search engines or news agencies show the extent of the damage brought about by Yolanda.

Some people say that the islands of Cebu, Panay, Negros and Mindoro are fortunate as principal cities in those islands like Cebu City, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Dumaguete City and Calapan City were relatively undamaged. This is also true, and so the airports and ports in these cities provide direct access to the islands for relief work. Moreover, government agencies and private entities have been able to organize relief activities through these cities and based on various news reports, it looks like a lot of people are already involved in these activities. That goes without saying that more people are still needed to be involved in various capacities for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction work that are expected to be undertaken over a longer term considering the extent of the damages to towns. But given the circumstances for the said islands, there is no excuse for more rapid aid not being able to reach the affected towns in these provinces. In fact, much more is expected where accessibility is no longer an issue and so faster recovery is possible for Panay, Negros, Cebu and Mindoro. In the cases of Cebu and Bohol, it is important to remember that the provinces already are also still reeling from the impacts of the Magnitude 7.2 earthquake that occurred only a few weeks ago.

On another note…Tacloban Airport is still closed to commercial aircraft but the land routes via RORO or the nautical highways are open to traffic or operational. I think the quickest way to Leyte is via the route from Cebu. There are regular RORO and Supercat services between Cebu City and Ormoc City in Leyte. There are other maritime transport services from Bogo City in northern Cebu but I am not sure those services are back to normal. Then there are also access via the Eastern Nautical Route via the Bicol Region and crossing over to Samar Island (Allen) via Matnog, Sorsogon. Many roads still need to be cleared but the main highway (Pan Philippine Highway) including the San Juanico Bridge that connects the islands of Samar and Leyte.
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