When Flooding Strikes: Be Informed, Be Prepared

metro flood

Photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer

It’s another rainy weekend. Heavy rains started yesterday and still persisted this morning. Another round of flooding in various parts of Metro Manila.

Flooding Now A Regular Occurrence?

Circumstances and landscapes have changed a lot from only a few years ago.  Before, we know the usual flood-prone places in Metro Manila  like Malabon and Navotas. Now, a big part of Metro Manila gets flooded in times of continuous rains. Even some provinces are not spared of this flooding problem.

Is flooding a natural disaster? No, I don’t think so. Raining is a natural phenomenon. But severe flooding is caused by our inability to properly take care of the resources that we have been blessed with. We continue to build tall and taller buildings in an already densely-populated metropolis. People continue to build homes beside waterways and low-lying areas.  We use plastic products and throw these wherever we like.

Flooding and Social Media

If we have to accept severe flooding as a regularly occurring phenomenon in the Philippines, we must learn how to deal with flooding so that we can go on with our lives. We should be informed, so we can be prepared. Aside from traditional media (print, radio, TV), social media has also proven its worth in giving out relevant information in times of flooding and other disasters. Facebook and Twitter accounts of news sites regularly give updates on weather and flooding status.

In Twitter, I’ve grouped into a list a few useful accounts to follow in times of heavy rains. Weather updates, flood updates, traffic news, and class suspensions can be monitored in these accounts. Rescue and relief efforts can also be reported and monitored using the hashtags #rescueph and #reliefph.

twitter list umuulan

Philam Life’s FRIENDS

In line with its mission to “empower Filipinos to achieve financial security and prosperity,” Philam Life will be holding a “Family Readiness in Emergencies and Natural Disasters Seminar” or FRIENDS. This is part of the company’s BalikBayani Forum for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). OFWs currently on vacation in the Philippines, and those with OFW relatives are invited to take part in this free seminar about emergency and disaster preparedness.  Seminar will be held on Wednesday, September 19,1-5pm,  at Philamlife Cubao Office in Aurora Blvd beside LRT2 Gateway station. Those interested to join may email me at mas10ph@gmail.com or comment below for details.

It’s scary to think that severe flooding is the new “normal.” Let’s intensify our efforts in protecting our environment so that we may reverse the damage that we have inflicted in our surroundings.

Disclosure: I am a financial advisor affiliated with Philam Life.

Here Comes The Rain Again

rainy day

I woke up early this morning to the sound of pounding rain and howling winds. Scary.

Oh no, here comes the rain again. And again and again and again. It has been raining for about two weeks now, I think. The weather’s been crazy the past two weeks. Typhoon “Gener” (international code name: Saola) is now in northern Luzon, but there’s no typhoon signal over Metro Manila. So I don’t understand the heavy rains and strong winds. I read somewhere that it’s a storm surge or monsoon surge. Whatever that is. All I know is that I want this bad weather to stop. It has gone on for too long.

These are the scenes we see in the newscasts during the rainy season:

  • flooding and heavy traffic in Metro Manila
  • toppled trees, posts and billboards
  • stalled vehicles
  • flooding also in some provinces
  • landslides
  • ruined harvests
  • many displaced families
  • adults and children bravely walking through the floods to get to their destination
  • some lives lost
  • garbage everywhere

How sad that we now accept these scenes as “usual.” Ganyan naman lagi. (That’s the usual situation.)

But it wasn’t always like this. Talk to the oldies and they tell us that heavy flooding didn’t occur frequently before. Rains would come and go then, and they didn’t have to worry about being flooded for days. They didn’t worry about the possibility of not being able to go to work or school. It never occurred to them that they might not have a house after the rains.

Now, every time that we wake up to a morning of heavy rains, we have to make an effort to check the news for weather, traffic and school updates. Then we whine about the flooding, bitch about the traffic, and curse the rains. And blame someone else (usually the government) for all the mess that the rainy season brings.

Can we not do something to stop the floods?

Maybe we cannot stop the flooding entirely, but we can definitely help lessen the damage that the typhoon season brings. We can do this by taking care of the environment. Not just our immediate environment, or the place we live,  but the entire planet that we live in. Little things like recycling and waste segregation, if done properly by many more people, would create a huge impact. Government and businesses eliminating greed from their agenda would result to better management of resources.

While the rains sometimes bring anxiety in our lives, I’m still hopeful for a better place to live in my lifetime. When it rains and my head automatically starts to sing The Eurythmics’ “Here Comes The Rain Again:”

Here comes the rain again
Raining in my head like a tragedy…

I stop that tape and instead conjure Louis Armstrong as he sings:

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.