ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Flash floods and the lessons they bring

Updated on November 7, 2009

Surviving the flood

  The instinct to live
The instinct to live

Typhoon Ondoy

Before reading this hub, please watch the slideshow on the "Walk Against the Construction of the Laiban Dam" in Quezon Province. The protest walk is an effort to protect the Sierra Madre Mountain from further degradation. A deforested Sierra Madre means more flash flood for Metro Manila like what just happened. Since the hyperlink here doesn;t work, please just do a quick search using google or other browsers. Here's the website:

http://self-esteemandcommunityorganizing.com

================================================================

On September 26, 2009, I was rushing to take the evening trip from Legazpi to Manila. The trip was my most needed visit to my mother and sisters. It was Typhoon Signal Number 1 hours before I boarded the bus. Signal number 1 was not risky for travel as far as my experiences in the past were concerned. Legazpi in the Bicol Region of the Philippines is a typhoon belt so what is signal number 1 anyway.

I arrived in Manila at 5:00 in the morning. It was raining but it was an ordinary rain. No big deal, I thought. I was in a hurry to be at the office for that day, Saturday, was an important activity of a people’s organization our agency was assisting. But as soon as I came into the office, my colleagues who stayed overnight to prepare for Saturday, got a call from the urban poor dwellers near the river that floodwaters were rising. In short, the activity on that day was postponed.

Six hours of rain and a flash flood made Metro Manila look like Noah’s story. On television we could see reports of stranded passengers on flooded streets too risky to cross. The streets became big flooded parking areas. Stories of urban poor dwellers living under the bridge celebrated the generosity of drivers who allowed the people taking refuge on the sidewalks to stay in their buses that were stranded on the highway.

There were areas in Metro Manila that TV could not reach. With no more telephone or mobile phone connections with people, anxieties started to creep in. An example of a message that sent cold water to my spine was the message that said: “We left our house with only our clothes on. The floodwaters were rising faster than we could seek higher grounds. But finally we were able to save ourselves.” Another message said: “The floodwater which just reached our ankles was rising and we decided to leave our house and seek refuge in a high school downtown.” At 3:00 pm, no more messages were coming into my mobile phone.

I thought about our partner urban poor communities and their daily pain and suffering as I frantically called every agency who had something to do with rescuing people during disasters. The coast guard – at least the voice at the other end of the line was courteous and ready to assist. “Our rescue operation is in full blast”, the voice said. “Do you have an idea about the people of Montalban? Have they evacuated?” “Sorry Ma’am”, we couldn’t contact Montalban. “My God, I was not just worried about our partner communities. I was also worried about my brother’s family in a lower middle class subdivision in Montalban. I called the Department of Social Welfare and Development. I called the National Disaster Coordinating Council. I dialed and dialed and dialed and got replies that were not sure if the people I was asking about have been brought to safety. Assuming that people have been brought to safe grounds, have people eaten? They were cold, hungry and scared.

On Sunday Morning, September 27, I got some relieving news aside from the scary ones. My colleagues and friends survived the flood but lost everything. Just like my brother and his family. All they had were the clothes on their back. Metro Manila became a huge muddy area in the aftermath of the flood. But hope was not lost. People were thankful for being alive.

This lesson is a cliché but it is a timeless truth: The best and the worst in people come out during disasters. Young men and women went in droves to do volunteer work in relief centers. There were so many stories of young people doing rescue work There were even those who lost their lives after saving a lot of people in their respective communities.

Disasters remind us that permanence is an illusion. Only the goodness of the human heart lives on. And of course, evil too, from the same human heart.

Here'a a link from Yahoo on the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy:

http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Philippines-Flooding/ss/events/wl/092709philippinesflo#photoViewer=/090929/481/9aea5bd8d06e41e6b1df5d6a9a1a53c5

Rising Floodwaters

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • franciaonline profile image
      Author

      franciaonline 8 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Money Glitch,

      Thanks for reading my hub and picking up the thought on the impermanence of things. It makes me feel connected when you and others are glad that we survived the storm. We shall prevail!

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Wow what an awesome quote of wisdom,"Disasters remind us that permanence is an illusion. Only the goodness of the human heart lives on."

      This is so true, I'm glad that you and your family survived the storm. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • franciaonline profile image
      Author

      franciaonline 8 years ago from Philippines

      Cris,

      I understand what you mean. We need to catch that special beam of enlightenment that breaks through the cracks of the

      disasters in our lives to say with conviction what has been in our minds all along. Sometimes, the "head moment" is not in the same dimension as the "heart moment."

      Thanks for your insight, my friend.

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      france

      I may have learned the lessons the hard and trying way but yeah, it's what you take away with you and not what you lost. But give me another month to say that again with conviction as sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow even if you know it's good for you :D

    • franciaonline profile image
      Author

      franciaonline 8 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Ginn Navarre,

      How nice of you to drop by with a word of wisdom!Thanks for the kind thoughts.

    • Ginn Navarre profile image

      Ginn Navarre 8 years ago

      Mother nature seems to have the power to teach us that ---material things can be replaced---but life can not. So glad that you are safe.

    • franciaonline profile image
      Author

      franciaonline 8 years ago from Philippines

    • franciaonline profile image
      Author

      franciaonline 8 years ago from Philippines

    • franciaonline profile image
      Author

      franciaonline 8 years ago from Philippines

      Hi masmasika,

      Thanks for dropping by. I'll visit your hub on the present calamity.

    • profile image

      masmasika 8 years ago

      HI, great hub. I also wrote a hub about this calamity that hit the Philippines. It is indeed something that can teach us a lesson to take care of nature.

    • franciaonline profile image
      Author

      franciaonline 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks God you didn't experience the flood. Those of us who haven't lost anything to the disaster take a different role: We take care of our fellow Filipinos through volunteer work in relief work. Later we'll do rehabilitation work.

      Thanks for dropping by.

    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 8 years ago from Philippines

      We're lucky to be in a place in Paranaque that's not flooded. It was one of the worst calamities the Philippines has ever sustained, I guess. Great hub.

    • franciaonline profile image
      Author

      franciaonline 8 years ago from Philippines

      Frightening indeed! Yes, it hurts to see lives and hard-earned valuables flow with the destructive floodwaters. But if we look at it closely, our society is accountable for this flooding, all of us but most especially our government, I believe.The Sierra Madre Mountain range, of which Metro Manila is part of its catch basin, is denuded.We have to re-forest humbly and patiently. We have sinned against Mother Nature.

      Thanks for dropping by.

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

      Frightening....I was frantic to hear from my Filipina 'wife' and heard nothing for days. I prayed and I am not religious (I heard from her yesterday). I wept as I saw TV footage of the dead and those being washed away. I thought of the many street children I have befriended and fed. Other lovers too. What happened. It hurts. I learn. Thank you for the hub.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)