Deluge-A A +A
By DP Limlingan
Thursday, August 9, 2012
IT’S been almost a month now since the rains have started. The land in Pampanga must have been already saturated with water that it has stopped sipping the volume of continuous rains.
Whenever we experience disasters, we all have our own stories to tell. Let me share to my readers my tale at the height of the profuse flooding at the capital city of the province.
Last Wednesday, I found myself rescuing relatives at Barangay Cutud in the City of San Fernando. Driving a truck is never easy, especially when you can’t see the road on a narrow street inundated by floodwaters.
Upon arrival at the barangay, throngs of people asked me if they can hitch a ride since there were no more vehicles, light or heavy, that could enter the area. I overhead some bystanders say I was bold to drive a truck on waist-deep flood. Since I haven’t rescued my targets yet, I said I’ll come back after my personal mission.
The two-story residence of my aunt was transformed into a bungalow-type when their ground floor was inundated by murky waters. Their fence gave in; their van never escaped from being drowned. As I alighted from my truck, I saw their personal things, including canned goods, floating. The clothes on their cabinets were drenched, their appliances damaged.
As I used the ladder to get to their house’s second storey, my cousin said they were caught off-guard by the flood that came in a matter of minutes. She added that the floodwaters rose so rapidly they had no chance to elevate their things.
In a hurry, they packed their things and I told them to evacuate since the water was still rising; our truck might not be able to pass the same route I braved to pass.
After embarking on my “rescue vehicle”, some residents of Cutud begged to hitch a ride. I asked them their destination, and a man (with perhaps his wife and kids) asked me if I can take them to any place where they can stay. They had no destination in mind. Another lad told them they can stay at the Heroes Hall where a number of residents also stayed (and are staying as of this writing).
Another family, this time with a man carrying a child afflicted with hydrocephalus also asked me for a ride. I conditionally gave in to their plea while telling them to just hold on since there was no more space to sit on. While on my way out of Cutud, there were those who tried to squeeze themselves inside the dump box of my truck. It was apparently an exodus of families of the barangay that was one of the most badly hit by floods in the city.
The sight of people leaving their place was pitiful. A lot of residences were damaged, including their vehicles. There were stories of death at a sitio of the barangay where some members of a family drowned.
Some residents decided to stay in their place and chose to be on guard, risk their lives from the rising floodwaters, perhaps afraid of some incidents of looting.
After a snail-paced ride, I finally drove my truck home with my “rescued” relatives, including some of their things and the assurance of being safe from floods.
Barangay Cutud is one of the most visited places during the Holy Week. It is there were some men are crucified, depicting the crucifixion of Christ. It is also of the most badly stricken by flood with its proximity to the Megadike. It was reported that the area was flooded when a tail dike was breached by rampaging waters.
Residents of the barangay were caught by surprise; they never expected the great volume of water to wreak havoc in their area. While my relatives are now safe and sound at my home, they are still apprehensive that the floods might totally ravage their house. They fear of looting, too, as there were reports of looters finding anything and stealing them. I hope we can seek the help of the US national guards whenever there is a disaster as such.
After saving my relatives from being isolated amidst the sea of floodwater, I recalled those families that hitched our ride. They left their residences without having any idea where they would stay, while the onslaught of floods and continuous rains still persist.
I had a thought too as to where will they get their food and water should they find a place to stay, until it’s safe for them to go back to their homes. Inasmuch as I wanted to help them, I don’t have enough to somehow give them a place and food ration they need while the deluge still exists.
There was no typhoon yet, only rain.
After such experiences, some lessons were learned and these somehow will improve further readiness among the people in areas such as Barangay Cutud during torrential rains and other related disasters.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 10, 2012.