The effect of Typhoon Ondoy

December 12, 2009

On September 26, Typhoon Ondoy (internationally recognized as Typhoon Ketsana) made its way through the Philippines hitting Metro Manila and northern provinces. Within just a few days Ondoy has put the country in distress flooding streets and neighborhoods, submerging cars and crops, and overflowing two dams. This dramatic strike of pouring rain has devastated over 319, 211 (Bayan USA) families causing many to leave their homes and climb on top of their rooftops in hopes of safe cover. Escalating to what is seen as the worse typhoon to hit the Philippines since 1967, the country has announced a state of calamity.

With damages that have reached about $100+ million so far, ruined properties have left families in both the Philippines and the United States in much despair.

17 inches in 12 hours equivalent to a month’s worth of rainfall in one day
Philippines: 455mm of rainfall > Hurricane Katrina: 350mm of rainfall
Over 25 regions submerged under water
Winds reaching up to 50mph
2 million
affected, 567,000 evacuated
At one point, 80% of Manila was under water
360 killed, 38 missing (Oct. 1, 2009) with numbers rising significantly…

= The heaviest rainfall in the Philippines in 42 years.

Now imagine your whole world submerged under water. With rainfall blurring your vision you attempt to look around but all you struggle to see are faces of fear and despair. As you try to stay afloat and keep the water below your head, your options ware down. Every drop of water pouring down deems as a flowing hourglass of your existence. Slowly and painfully, you watch the water rise and overtake the only house you’ve lived in. Slowly and painfully you force yourself to breathe and stay calm as every inch of your home immerses in rainfall. As the water continues to rise above your waist, you are quick to think and left to hope there’s some way someone can save you.

For the victims in the Philippines this nightmare has become their reality.

This is something I wrote after I found out the typhoon hit the Philippines. I couldn’t help but feel remorse towards the situation. Immediately, I thought about my family back home; the family I hadn’t seen since I was 15. So I did what other families must have done, I picked up my phone and called my family to check up on them. Then after I hung up, I realized their voice wasn’t enough to sooth me completely. I realized after talking to them I wanted to know not just how my family was doing in the Philippines, but the whole country as well. That was when I began to research and focus all my attention towards the Philippine news stations and websites to keep me updated.

That same week, Val and I were invited to go to an emergency typhoon relief efforts meeting where several Bay Area Filipino organizations came in collaboration to discussion what could be done immediately. Then during the week, Val collaborated with University Ministry on campus seeking for the whole campus and beyond to recognize the issue at hand. That’s when I tried to do everything I could. I wrote an article about the typhoon, helped organize drives and made sure I was doing whatever I felt I could do to help even though I’m not within reach. I felt it was my responsibility to do so, to encourage folks here to be aware and stay aware.

Several days later, my prayers and blessings still continue to go out to my family and the families out there in the Philippines, because I believe that although we may not be in reach physically we can still make a difference.


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