LPA and Agaton Blues

I have experienced flooding before- in 1979, 1999, 2011. It happens to us with a more than a decade interval. I did not expect it to come too soon.  The non-stop raining for the past two weeks was something to be concerned about.

My cousin and I were chatting about how my aunt reacted to the flooding in their street.  She described it as ‘thrilling’ because it has been stationary near their gate for days.

This  was our version of thrilling by Sunday afternoon, January 19.
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We even managed to build a makeshift fort for our dog to prevent him from jumping into the water.
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By late afternoon on Sunday, the water level already rose.
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My friend who lives near the river already evacuated their families.

In the evening, I got a text from my boss about a tweet from Prof. Mahar Lagmay, executive director of Project NOAH. I verified it. True enough I got the same information. Prof Lagmay is an expert I asked about flood maps before and I trust his assessment.
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This made us decide to prepare for flooding. From previous experience, we know the flood-prone areas in the house so we quickly vacated the area.

Remember my living room last Christmas?
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We emptied it. Almost.
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We transferred the furniture to my Aunt’s house.
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Their living room turned into a bodega. We reinforced the furniture legs with plastic cups.

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That afternoon, my aunt already secured her plants on the waiting shed bench.

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We slept tight when the 11:30 PM warning of Prof Lagmay had passed.
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When we woke up, we are still dry. However, heavy rains kept pounding. The Tropical Depression Agaton showed its strength after being categorized as a low pressure area (LPA) for more than a week. The water level of the mighty Agusan River rose.

Then, my living room had two inches of flood. Yes, we still have power and my aunt was able to watch her favorite teleserye.
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My aunt’s porch was flooded. We were grateful that the living room was dry.
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My rooms were still safe and dry.
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The dogs were safe and dry.
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By Tuesday morning, rain was reduced to drizzles and the water in my home was slowly receding. It was cleanup time for us. My aunt started scooping out flood waters to the pail and I carried those pails 50 steps away to my bathroom. It was a good workout.
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We did the same thing with my living room that by Tuesday afternoon, my floors were squeaky clean. I purposely sat on the floor to show you how clean it is. Pardon the fashion faux pas.
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We had time to roam around the neighborhood and the streets were still flooded.

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There are still thousands of families in the evacuation centers. I know someone who lost their home. I know someone whose brother had to be rescued.

My beloved city is under the state of calamity. I am fine. My family is fine. But there are still thousands who are homeless. The water level has not yet subsided.

Please keep us in your prayers.

When Disaster Strikes

I love my country. Beautiful coastline, warm people and a simple life. These are just a few reasons why I still chose to live here.

Life is sweet until disaster strikes.

Living in this country makes us vulnerable to some a lot of hazards.

The flooding that occurred early this week showed us how vulnerable the country is. While Mindanao experienced sunny weather, Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon experienced heavy rainfall. I have my share of flood stories and storm stories. By some stroke of luck, I was spared from the wrath of Sendong.  However,  I have never experienced (and will never dream of experiencing) flooding that happens in a span of 2 hours.

The government was quick to mobilize its warning systems.  These are the new warning codes that everyone should know.

This is Architect Paulo Alcazaren’s illustration on the warnings.

 

Because of Sendong last December, I asked about the flood map of my city from Professor Mahar Lagmay of Nababaha.com.

Almost 8 months since I asked that question, there is still no flood map for Butuan City but I am glad to see flood maps in other parts of the region. This week I learned that Professor Lagmay heads Project NOAH. NOAH stands for Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards. The project NOAH website gives real-time doppler image report.  Coolness! One should learn how to navigate the site for practical reasons. You get an image like this that shows a picture of what is happening in real time.

Knowing that this can happen again, we must be prepared. These are the important emergency numbers.

These numbers are for those in Metro Manila. If you live in the province, know the important numbers of your RDRRMC.

Here are some emergency tips:

Googly Gooeys got some tips, too!

It is important to be alert.

Water is important.  In particular, clean water. There is such a thing called ‘The Rule of Threes’.

Here are the steps in purifying your own water:

Flooding poses a threat to safety, properties and health.

However, it is in difficult times like this that makes me proudest being a Filipino.

Surviving is reason enough to smile.

We trust the people we once doubted.

In my country, everyone is a hero.

There are many ways one can help.  For a nation dubbed as the texting capital of the world, this is the easiest way a Filipino can help his countrymen.

The  Philippine Red Cross has amphibians that can reach flooded areas.

Mindanao is dry and sunny and I am not complaining.  I admit I have not prepared a disaster kit. For those who are also thinking of preparing a disaster kit, check out the following guides:

The Items That Should Be Included in a 72-Hour Kit

 

A detailed list can be found in this Rappler article.

This is something we can think about. Think before you buy something. Think before you throw something.

 

Architect Paulo Alcazaren has sketches of his proposal for the future design of barangay halls.

I wonder if this design is also earthquake proof. Similarly, this is his proposal for areas near the river.

Uncanny. His sketch closely describes where I live.  I live two blocks away from the dike. See the green area, left of the river near the bridge? There used to be people living in that area. Good thing, our barangay already relocated people living near the Agusan river.

The area is empty now.

A ‘secret’ garden thrives there.

I hope we can find solutions to Metro Manila’s flood problems. Atty. Antonio Oposa Jr., a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, presented some simple solutions in this Rappler article.

I now end this very long post.

Source: via Rylee on Pinterest

 

Note: all the photos and graphics that are not my own are linked from the source.

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