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Tropical Storm Sendong Devastates the Visayas and Mindanao
Heavy rains caused flood waters to rise one meter (3 feet) high in less than an hour
A week before Christmas, typhoon Sendong (international name: Washi), one of the worst (if not the worst) typhoon to hit the Visayas and Mindanao this year, created havoc in various cities in this part of the Philippines.
The devastation was so unexpected in various areas in Mindanao, mainly because this island is seldom hit by such a typhoon. In fact, based on experience (as I used to live in Mindanao), I never saw a typhoon signal rise higher than Signal Number 1 in Northern Mindanao. Imagine my surprise when I heard that the typhoon signal was actually Signal Number 2 for Northern Mindanao.
But I digress. Sendong hit the islands on Friday evening, catching the residents unaware when the flood waters came down from the mountains early Saturday morning. The flood and the landslides were so unexpected that they barely had time to run for their lives, let alone prepare for this calamity.
As I write this hub, the death toll has risen to almost 700, with almost a thousand people still unaccounted for. Thousands of families have been displaced and are now in evacuation areas, their houses and all their possessions gone. Whole villages have been washed away to the sea. Three days after everything came crashing down, we are still reeling from the after effects of this tropical storm.
As of this morning (Dec. 19, 2011), there are already more than 700 people who are confirmed dead, with more than 900 people still missing. The cities that are most affected are Cagayan de Oro City (where more than 470 bodies have been recovered) and Iligan City. Death tolls have also been recorded in Bukidnon, Compostela Valley, the Lanao and the Zamboanga del Norte provinces. The province of Negros Oriental (particularly Dumaguete City) in the Visayas area is also affected by floods.
Update: Death toll had reached to almost 1,000. The country's president declared a state of national calamity.
Sendong is quite a mild storm compared to Ondoy or the other typhoons. However, it packed a lot of rainwater (one month’s worth or so), causing massive floods all around. It was reported that flood waters reached levels much taller than an average Filipino. In the aftermath of Sendong, we could see people walking on waist – high (even chest – high) flood waters. Cars, SUVs and pick – up trucks were also seen piled one on top of the other as the flood waters subsided in several areas. Houses were swept away towards the sea, with some of their residents still clinging on their rooftops. The pictures that are flashed on news reports and in the newspaper attest to the amount of devastation caused by this tropical storm.
News on Tropical Storm Washi
Typhoon Sendong Hits Iligan City
As millions of Filipinos watched what happened to our countrymen in the Visayas and Mindanao, help and assistance started pouring in. Military personnel had been dispatched to the affected areas to help in looking for the dead victims, the missing and the survivors and bring relief to the survivors. Various government agencies have been mobilizing to bring in food, clothing and other things the evacuees need. Various NGOs and the private sector have sent (and are still sending) everything they can to help out the victims. International communities and other countries are offering much needed assistance to help my country.
Various entities have already set up donation drives to bring in funds, food, clothing and other items needed by those affected by Tropical Storm Sendong. Among those entities are the Philippine Red Cross, which is perhaps the most active in the private sector. Almost 500 of its staff and volunteers are deployed in the affected areas to see what are really needed. It has an SMS donation facility. The organization also accepts online donation and donations through direct deposits. If you want to know more, see link below.
LBC Express, a remittance and courier company, also accepts donations in kind for the flood victims. You can drop off your donations in any of its branches. See photo on the right side to know how.
JRS Express and Air 21, also remittance and courier companies, are also accepting donations in kind in their branches around the country/
The foundations of the major TV networks of the country are also accepting donations. They have peso and dollar (for those who are from other countries) bank accounts where the donors can deposit their cash donations.
Cebuana Lhuillier, one of the leading pawnshops in the country, is also accepting donations in its 1,500 branches all over the country.
Of course, you can always drop off your donations to the concerned government agencies such as the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
What are most needed right now – bottled water, food, medicine, medical supplies, clothes, blankets, sleeping mats, diapers and milk. It goes without saying that cash is needed as well.
If you want to help, please check the following websites
This hub is a bit late in terms of providing an update about Tropical Storm Sendong and its aftermath. The hubber believes that her countrymen will need all the help they can get in the days to come. If this hub can reach more people and get more people to help out, the hubber has achieved her intent. Thank you to all those who read this hub, who prayed for the victims and who donated (or will donate) to help out Sendong’s victims.