The great floods-A A +A
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
I’M SAFE and dry here in Bacolod. I can’t say the same thing with my relatives and friends in Metro Manila, though. Dear Lord, may you keep them safe and warm.
I would mostly likely be suffering with them right now had I not traded the big city life for the laidback promdi Bacolod experience. After all, I studied and had been working there for a time until I decided to return to Bacolod.
However, after seeing photos and footages of flooded Metro Manila over a low pressure area (LPA) with continuous rains, or of Ondoy three years ago, I know I can count my blessings.
To be sure, I experienced flooded cabs along España Avenue or stalled vehicles near De La Salle University in Taft. From that point, I waded through knee-deep floods up to Doroteo José before I was able to board the jam-packed Light Railway Train to Monumento and then a cab to Cubao.
Now the flood standards in Metro Manila have been raised notches higher with Typhoon Ondoy, and the recent LPA. The National Capitol Region needs no typhoons to flood the big city.
The new standards include the loss of landmarks, with electric posts and tall buildings in finding one’s way around on what has become Waterworld. From reel to real life. The situation would be way over my head, or at least my neck—literally—if I’m in Metro Manila.
In many areas, we watched horrified in neck-deep floods, or where refuge can be found on rooftops. Yesterday’s monsoon rains shut down schools, financial markets and most government offices, rendering key roadways in Metro Manila impassable by waters that in some areas reached neck-deep, forcing 20,000 people to flee their homes as floodwaters inundated half its urban sprawl.
It’s too early to measure our national government addressed its weaknesses during Ondoy. Let’s see how the prognosis would turn out.
In a sense, Metro Manila can still count its blessings. The confluence of the LPA and habagat (that southwest wind; south-west monsoon and characterized by hot and humid weather, frequent heavy rainfall, and a prevailing wind from the west) has not evolved into a typhoon.
Bacolod is a refuge from natural disasters. Can I say though that everything is peachy here in Bacolod, or Negros Occidental for that matter?
For some reality checks, the National Statistical Coordination Board in Iloilo released some interesting facts. Which probably means I can run but I cannot hide from natural disasters.
In 2011, Western Visayas experienced a total of 52 disaster occurrences of which 39 were natural and 13 were man-made disasters. This translates to an average of 3 natural disaster occurrences per month affecting an average of 4,411 families and 13,856 individuals.
Among these natural disasters, 4 were typhoons namely Mina, Pedring, Ramon and Sendong which crossed the region; 17 flashfloods/flooding; 4 earthquake occurrences; 14 other minor natural disasters; and cases of human-induced disasters.
The flood tragedy in Metro Manila could perhaps be considered as force majeure. But in Western Visayas, our casualties and deaths come more from human-made disasters compared to natural calamities. For the period 2009 to 2011, a total of 183 persons were injured because of human-made disasters while only 67 were injured due to natural disasters.
Bacolod has been spared, however, with ankle-deep floods as minor inconveniences. Or as Metro Manilans suffer, we have balmy and scattered rain showers that simply drench us. I wonder though how prepared we are for big whammies.
Cross our fingers and pray to the Lord Almighty that we never get to find out what our fellow citizens are finding out in Luzon.
Please email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 08, 2012.