Typhoon Ondoy Emergency Hotlines and Relief Operations and “where to donate” links are listed at the bottom of this post – if you wish to skip my story.
The flood that hit Metro Manila here in the Philippines deeply saddened me over these past few days. I had seen the pictures and the video footages. Although floods happen regularly in Manila during the rainy season, I had never seen a flash flood that worse where people on rooftops can just be seen on aerial view.
at the UERM hospital in Sta. Mesa – floating cars, trapped driver in one car
My firsthand experience of Manila’s flood
I distinctly remember having that firsthand experience wading into hip-level high waters in Manila almost ten years ago. I lived in Manila for almost a year, just to review for the board exams. I was also into the last semester of pregnancy when that huge flood at Quiapo-Espana happened on just one continuous rainy afternoon. The FX-taxi driver dropped me off several kilometers away from my final destination because his vehicle can’t get into of the waist-level high waters. The flood was too bad that only huge buses can cross the street without being driven off by the water current (small cars are easily tossed off). I had to get down and walk. I was forced to wade the waters. I saw students and workers on the streets who were stranded and could not go home (they were able to get home after midnight).
car sucked up by the flood
I was a young pregnant mom in my final semester of pregnancy then, but I was relieved that strangers helped me cross several streets to get to the place where I stayed. One even volunteered carrying me to the place I stayed.
I am not in Manila anymore. I currently live in Baguio which is approximately 200 kms north from Manila. Although my place was declared as one of those areas of calamity during Typhoon Ondoy, we had only experienced winds and a little rain.
That flood that I had experienced way back is still nothing compared to what is being experienced by people in Manila right now. I was moved by some people microblogging their experiences on Plurk and Twitter – some had phones that can update their Plurk, Twitter and Facebook statuses. They were asking for help: for themselves or for their neighbors who were trapped in the upper floors of their hours for several hours without any food and water.
I am sure the people who were able to share their experiences in a trapped floor via the internet are very few. Most people here in the Philippines are able to communicate via their mobile phones. Not everyone have mobile phones handy to ask for help.
We are already aware that there is another typhoon or two coming into the country which is just hours away.
The 1990 Earthquake Experience
Perhaps I could further relate to the Manila flood victims’ plight because I was also one of those victims in the famous killer 1990 earthquake that shook my city. The ground trembled for less than a minute at a magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale – but that was really enough to bring down buildings and mountains (I live on the mountainous region in my country). Roads leading out of the city were impassable because they were cracked, plus there’s the threat of landslides happening along the way.
We were all forced to sleep on the streets or on wider grounds on tents. We didn’t have enough drinking water. We lived on eating canned goods because we couldn’t cook our food. Goods were transported via helicopters because our city was isolated for more than a month. We all tried to sleep through the day and night in the midst of aftershooks which lasted for several months.
Unlike that flash flood in Manila, death came in swiftly and the casualties suddenly numbered in several hundreds. The strong pine scent of our city was replaced with the scent of decaying bodies of dead people, because the funeral parlors don’t have enough Formalin and coffins to contain the increasing casualties. All in all, the earthquake didn’t happen only on that single July 16, 1990 – it lasted for several months which continuously took more and more lives for each aftershock that happen.
Manila’s Ondoy victims seemed to have fewer casualties (most victims could still run to higher ground, floors or rooftops) but I could be wrong. In terms of property, many of us here whose buildings or homes survived the earthquake and aftershocks are still be happy to find their appliances in good working condition. However, those aftershocks are strong and unpredictable and lasted for several months, an unlucky person may not be able to run for his or her life when a structure suddenly crumbles down.
Do your part – HELP ONDOY VICTIMS NOW!
Instead of posting my own list of hotline numbers, I feel it’s best to direct you to people who keep on updating their lists for Typhoon Ondoy Emergency Hotlines and Relief Operations:
- Sour Politics: Typhoon Ondoy Emergency Hotlines and Relief Operation
- Random Salt: Helplines and hotlines for Typhoon Ondoy victims
- The Journal of The Jester-in-Exile: Typhoon Ondoy Help List
- Bury Me in this Dress: Where to send donations for victims of Typhoon Ondoy
- MLQ3 on Tumblr: How you can help
- Social Media Philippines: Manila Under Water – Barrio Bayanihan For Ondoy Victims
- PTKFGS!: Help Victims of Ondoy through Paypal, Credit Card Donations (Paypal donations)
- Jhong Medina’s Personal Blog: Give Back What Typhoon Ondoy Took Away (claims to have verified relief centers for Ondoy’s victims)
- Google Spreadsheet: Ondoy Places to Donate Relief Goods (updated automatically every 5 minutes
- Change Politics Movement: NGOs Help for Victims of Typhoon Ondoy
- Ondoy Relief: http://www.ondoyrelief.org/
- Inquirer.net: Hotlines to check missing persons
- Ondoy Manila: Petron Donation Centers
- Something Learn and Discover!: Donate to Typhoon Ondoy Victims
- Comicgasm: Ondoy. Help out, guys.
- Google Philippines: Help for Typhoon Ondoy Victims in the Philippines
- Moon Girl: Donating to Manila from Abroad
For those who live outside the Philippines: you may donate directly to Philippine Red Cross through this link: Philippine National Red Cross Online Donation (select “Typhoon Ondoy” then enter donation in Pesos).