Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Typhoon That Will Never Be Forgotten

It was the morning of September 26, I woke up and it was still raining.

I remembered that I slept raining the night before and the rain hasn't stopped since then. It has become a super typhoon, and they called it Ondoy.

Living in the low lying residential areas of Makati City, I know it's already flooded in our streets even without taking a look by the window. It was just a question of how high will the flood be, knee-high or waist-high?

I wasn't really scared since I live on the fourth floor of a small condominium. I was more worried that there might be a blackout. I knew I will be stranded at home since flood water levels are approaching the waist. I immediately filled up water containers since the condo's water supply is electric pump-powered.

After which, I logged online. As a blogger and a very online person, I was immediately swamped with typhoon signal news and information of flooded areas around Metro Manila.

It was immediately prevalent that Marikina, Pasig and the Antipolo areas surrounding Marikina River were the worst hit by the flood. And unfortunately, the flood water levels were continuing to rise.

Past lunch, the rain still hasn't stopped. By this time, news and messages from friends started to come and that the flood waters were getting into their homes already.

At the same time, a number of helpline numbers, websites and rescue databases were started through social networking sites, news feeds, and the television media such as the Sagip Kapamilya.

Cheryl Cosim originally uploaded by LopezLink

Being stuck at home myself, the only way I was able to assist those needing help was by monitoring the situation online and posting it on the 'need of rescue' databases hoping that the military and government rescue efforts would be able to reach them in time.

To make the story short, by evening, a lot of families residing in the aforementioned areas and some parts of Quezon City has their first floor flooded by about eight feet high and they were stranded on the second floor, worse, on the roof of their bungalow homes.

One particular friend whose anonymity I have to maintain even sent me this text message as they were worried that the waters will reach the second floor where they were staying. To make the matter worse, they had children and babies with them and they were all hungry.

Fortunately, the downpour started to slowdown by midnight. Flood waters started to recede and my friend's family were able to go down the ground floor in the morning. Sadly though, government rescue teams were not able to reach their place and they survived on their own.

The disaster does not end there as all their properties on the first floor were destroyed and they still have nothing to eat that morning.

It is during these times when relief efforts are most needed by the victims and survivors. There were a lot of helping hands and donation drives started by kindhearted groups and organizations who reached out to our disaster-stricken brothers. There were also efforts from the online community like TXTPower who was able to start an online donation drive and that of the Facebook page of LopezLink.

There were also online forum discussions which caught my attention on the topic of "celebrities in Sagip Kapamilya rescue operations". I think this is actually helpful in gathering needed funds since these celebrities has a following. Moreover, perhaps their fans would be more encouraged to donate. I think it is also their chance to serve as a good role model in real life and more than just acting.

I would also like to share a photo of my relative's house in Masambong, Quezon City. Thay also had an 8ft flood in the first floor in their house. They are actually on a much elevated ground which means the waters have reached the second floors of the neighbors.
It was really a horrible and traumatic experience for the people in the affected areas. The government should have a long-term solution for this flooding problem especially since we are expecting more typhoons to come.

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