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Philippines: New Year Flash Floods

Categories: East Asia, Philippines, Breaking News, Disaster, Environment, Humanitarian Response, Youth

Flash floods brought the festive mood of the New Year to an early close for the thousands of displaced families in different areas in the Philippines.

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Submerged Homes: Photo courtesy of hoo2ya [1].

Over the weekend, residents of the southern Philippine cities of Cagayan de Oro, Gingoog, and Iligan in Northern Mindanao woke up to high waters invading their homes and neighborhoods. Heavy rains precipitated the massive floods in the low-lying areas in the three affected cities.

The heavy winds and cold weather developed into a tropical depression and was named “Auring,” the first storm to enter the country in 2009 [2]. At least 30,000 individuals were affected [3]. More than 30 houses were swept away by the rampaging waters as creeks and rivers overflowed. A child was killed while 7 were reported missing. Floods also led to the evacuation of residents in some areas of Negros Oriental, Bohol and Samar in the Visayas and Zamboanga del Norte in Western Mindanao.

Rescue and relief operations are ongoing in the aftermath of the floods. Meanwhile, bloggers have been active in covering the natural catastrophe:

Titus Velez shares photos and his recollection [4] of the flood:

When we woke up. The water has risen and the current was so strong. It also took some time for some people to decide to evacuate. They waited until they saw 7 houses floating in the river. Trees have been uprooted even several Bamboo clumps. We saw 7 cows and a mother and daughter clinging to there dear life on a banana trunk. The mother and daughter were rescued downstream.

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Father and Daughter: Photo courtesy of Titus Velez [5].

Yanix's didn't expect [6] anything out of the ordinary:

It all started last Friday where there is a strange weather condition occur in our city. Winds blew very hard and a night of heavy rain. I thought it was just a ordinary phenomenon during this kind of season. But then, early this morning, we heard radio reports about flash flood…

Times Like These was also surprised [7]:

I haven't heard about the flood here in Cagayan de Oro until I saw a lot of people standing near Marcos bridge yesterday. I thought there was an accident but when I looked down the bridge I saw a lot of houses that were all filled with water.

Little Singkit adds [8]:

My family and i has been staying here in Cagayan for almost 11 years now, and after those long years we have learned to love this place. Nice environment, peaceful community, and as far as i can remember, this place has rarely experience major calamities.


Flooded Homes: Photo courtesy of Dustein Sibug [9].

Day to Day Miracles, who lives beside the Cagayan de Oro river, narrates how their family escaped [10] the rising water, got stranded [11], and survived safely to return home [12].

My Hubby woke up before 7 am since he literally felt someone pat his back. No one else was there and we believe that God has awaken him. When my hubby woke up, he heard a tip tapping of the water. He looked up at the ceiling and thought that maybe the water is dripping from the ceiling but it wasn't. Then he opened the door, he saw that the river water has already overflowed. So, he woke me up and indeed the water was already ankle deep. It was such a scary sight! We hurriedly woke up my Mom while Hubby texted our sister who lives within the compound.

My Mom and I took all our important documents and valuables and didn't have time to take any clothes with us. We had to get out of the area as soon as possible since we can't predict the rising of river. And by the time we walked to my sister's house, the water was already knee deep and worse, the current was a bit strong. All the kids and I went up our ‘multicab’ while the guys took some time to get some other important things from the house. And by the time, everyone was ready, the water was already on the waist level. Our transport only ran a few meters and then as expected, it stopped. So, we didn't have any other choice but to walk to higher grounds. So, even it was drizzling, we carried our kids and walked barefooted to higher grounds. Only my Mom, my sis B. and her kids walked with me. While my Hubby and our bro-in-law pastor waited for my other Sis M. to get ready with her baby and kid.

Everything was so surreal. It was like a dream. I looked back to the house and I saw that the water has indeed rose up. We walked and left all practically all our belongings. We didn't care of all those material things anymore because at that time, we could see that the water is rising just so fast and we just wanted our kids to be safe.

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Dining Room: Photo courtesy of Day to Day Miracles [12].

VS8SHOP recounts his father's rescue [13] of the stranded Caballeros family:

He and my brother drove down to see the situation, but when they reached the area, they could not see anything but water. Good thing that my father went around looking for a way to see more, and truth be told, he saw a hopeless case since the post at the gates of the compound still had live electricity. Thankfully, with Auntie Vicky's call to Cepalco, we had another “brown out”…ahehehe, just making you readers laugh a bit, since this post may be a very serious one. So anyway, after the electricity went dead, people are then able to cross in the chin-deep waters…my father, according to another cousin swam towards the house where the Caballeros were safely evacuated, temporarily though…

It all reminds [14] Action Speaks Louder than BLOGS of a past flood experience:

It's been almost 2 decades since I experienced a flash floods on our old home in Barangay Carmen but after that flood in 1989 caused by typhoon Ruping, our family decided to transfer in Barangay Kauswagan around 1992. We decided to transfer because it is not easy being hit by a flash floods. The trauma, tension, fear and inconvenience are some of the feelings you can experience. Being trapped inside your house surrounded by flood waters makes you feel so scared that it might be the end of your life…


Destruction: Photo courtesy of Aubrey Ng's Facebook [15].

Fritzi Gironella [16] links to photos [17]and videos [18]posted at Facebook (viewable only by those with Facebook [19]accounts). Jungle Jil, an expatriate living In Cagayan De Oro, also posts photos [20]. Still more photos can be found at Cagayandeoro.info [21].

The flood's destructive consequences makes Lalaine's World think [22]of applying for a home insurance.

Blogging Beauty still finds something positive [23] from the event:

As a Christian, calamaties like flood are still blessings in disguise. It is very evident when people started to share and extend help to one another. The out-pouring blessing that the affected families were immediately provided. Thank God for the safety and the blessings!


Cagayan de Oro Floods