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The Face of Disaster, Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines
Nobody Saw It Coming
A thing about heavy rains is that everyone expects it to stop anytime soon. That is how I felt that Saturday morning when the rain started at 10am, Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana) is expected to pass through our archipelago -- pass through being the operative phrase. A day later Im reminded of the funny saying -- when you assume, u make an ass out of u and me . In the Philippines we have a similar saying that goes -- "maraming namamatay sa maling akala " -- "many die from wrong assumptions". Sadly, everyone assumed that this storm was just passing through.
A tropical storm over here is characterized by strong winds and intermittent rain fall, sometimes weak, sometiimes strong but seldom devastating Storms are a nuisance at best here, a damper on the plans made etc. By 11am the rain has gone on unabated and classes in schools were suspended. The downpour did not stop it just got stronger, I already knew that some areas in and around Metro Manila would be flooded by now but then I also felt that it wont be long now and the rain will stop. I had a birthday party to go to that night, I am all set and looking forward to it. By 2pm I started getting worried, Two of my nieces Yssa and Roxy attended the same college and they still haven't returned home after being dismissed at 11am. When I finally got hold of them on the cell, they sounded a bit scared, the flood waters have risen up to their knees. The rain is as strong as ever if not more and it has gone on for four hours now. It will go on for two more. Six hours of the heaviest rainfall this side of the earth has ever seen in 40 years.
My nieces got home soaked to the skin by 7.30pm shaken and scared but just thankful to get home, remember they were dismissed at 11am? They walked a considerable distance to get to the metro rail (the long long way back). when they got there the queue to get to the train stretched for miles, they had to wait three hours to get their ticket and finally board the train another train ride awaits them at the other end and another long walk to get to our house. But, and this is the big but, they got home safe, several others were not so lucky.
What I have put together here are some of the images from this harrowing day. I will let the images do the talking. Some experts claim that the volume of floods this time surpassed that of Katrina. Three days later, we are all trying to get hold of friends and family to check if theyre ok and we are thanking the heavens that we were somehow spared.
One of our favorite writers here in Hubpages, Cris A lives in the hardest-hit part of the metropolis, in Marikina.I haven't been able to reach him till now but I haven't stopped praying for his safety either.
Prelude to a video of the disaster
This video shows a family trying to hold on as the strong current of the San Mateo river takes their makeshift raft under the bridge. Notice that the raft did not make it in one piece past the river. One of the people in this raft found his way to a local television station to tell his story. He was with his wife and two girls (aged 6 and 3) and some neighbors. He was the only one who got out, his family has yet to be found, Its his younger daughter's birthday today (Sept 28). He was crying, no bawling as he tells his story in the local news.
one of the most heart-rending scenes from the day
People in their cars caught unawares, now I finally understand the concept of a flash flood. The video was taken by students in the second level. If you listen closely, they were jesting at the start (nervous laughter i think) and then later on they started shouting and crying. The poor lady from came out from her car window, tried to throw her bag to the people on the roof and got really scared until someone from the roof finally jumped and went to where she was.