Though the flood is only beginning to subside in the metro, and Lia and I were fortunate enough not to be in Cainta while all these are going on, I am posting some information that might be of help to everyone. It wasn’t too long ago when we we’re trapped in the second floor of our rented apartment in Pasig Greenpark Village while Typhoon Ondoy ravaged the metro. (Read that blog here.)

You would think we’ve learned something after Ondoy, and judging from the disaster preparedness exhibited by local government units (LGUs) and other government and non-organizations, we probably have, though not a lot. Individuals should also take steps towards disaster preparedness, and more importantly, initiate long-term changes.

Many areas in Metro Manila are below sea-level. This is enough to recognize that flooding might be a normal occurrence. It is time we build structures as prepared for floods as the Japanese structures are for earthquakes.

As drawn by Paulo Alcazaren: The meaning of the UPDATED PAGASA ‘FLOOD ZONE’ COLOR CODES!

Les Lesaca says on his Facebook account: “The lesson here is for the Municipios of the diff Flood Zone Levels to review & possibly update their respective Building Code Requirements due to the limitations of their vicinity. eg. Since the Marikina area is ‘BELOW” Sea Level, then perhaps it only makes sense that they RAISE the level of their structures to be FLOOD-PROOF! These MONSOON-RAINS happen EVERY YEAR right? Yet every year I hear the same news about flooding. When will we ever learn? We need PRO-ACTIVE BLDG OFFICIALS to utilize “real” PASSIVE yet EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS!

In my high school Health class yesterday, I discussed the relevance of this recent flooding to the topic for the day – Population. I actually teach high school science (Gen. Science, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics) but since we are short on teachers, I am also handling the Health and Arts classes (out of the MAPEH course) for the meantime.

This article only affirms my personal opinion, that I shared yesterday with my classes, with official statements from experts: “Floods in PH man-made disaster, say experts“. It doesn’t take an environmental or urban planner to know these things.

“Deadly floods that have swamped nearly all of Metro Manila are less a natural disaster and more the result of poor planning, lax enforcement and political self-interest, experts say.

Damaged watersheds, massive squatter colonies living in danger zones and the neglect of drainage systems are some of the factors that have made the chaotic city of 15 million people much more vulnerable to enormous floods”

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Manila, vital forested areas have been destroyed to make way for housing developments catering to a growing middle and upper class, according to architect Paulo Alcazaren.

Alcazeren, who is also an urban planner, said the patchwork political structure of Manila had made things even harder.

The capital is actually made up of 16 cities and towns, each with its own government, and they often carry out infrastructure programmes — such as drainage and watershed protection — without coordination.

Squatters, attracted by economic opportunities in the city, often build shanties on river banks, storm drains and canals, dumping garbage and impeding the flow of waterways.

Solutions to the flooding will all require massive efforts such as re-planting the watersheds, building low-cost housing for the squatters and clearing drainage systems, the experts said. (Source: Mynardo Macaraig, Rappler.com)

Though we cannot all afford to build new, flood-resistant houses, there are little things we can do right NOW. We can start with this:

And just to reiterate the importance of proper garbage disposal:

By Darwin Zialcita. Click here to enlarge/view photo from original source.

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Just so you know, the following areas are under a state of calamity:

And here are a couple of ways you may be able to help. Just be careful with your donations and to whom you give them to. There are a lot of calls for donations, and some of them might not be legitimate, so be aware of the donations you make, to whom and where they are actually headed.

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