Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Dams be Damned - Part 2 (Sep 28 09)

Typhoon Visits Kingsville Subdivision

This is my email to the Computer Science Faculty of Ateneo:

Please be informed that Typhoon Andoy also visited the Ateneo Faculty Housing in Kingsville Subdivision, Antipolo City. The flood near Gate 3 on Marcos Highway was one of the last Metro Manila floods to subside. Affected are the families of Dr. Jose Marasigan, Dr. Manny Dy, Dr. Pablo Manalastas, Dra. Baby Angtuaco, Mr. Pete San Pedro, Mr. Fred Oafallas (brother of Oafallas of Registrar's Office), and many others whose names I do not remember (part of being a senior citizen).

My house is about one meter above Ateneo Road in Kingsville, and Ateneo Road is about the same level as Marcos Highway. My driveway is two feet lower than my house. Under the worst floods we ever had in 23 years, the flood water never went above one foot from my driveway.

On Saturday, the flooding on my driveway reached about one foot high, when the rain stopped. The household thought that the flood will not reach any higher, because of historical experience. But the rain has already stopped for some time, and still the water rose higher. When the water level started reaching my floor at the sala, my household started moving stuff up the second floor attic, and then the worst flood came over our house. Inside the house the water level was waist-deep, but outside it was neck-high. Five of my ten dogs drowned in the flood and one of my two cats also drowned. Today I must bury six live beings. Our Honda City was submerged and full of mud and could not yet be revived. The keys on the piano at the sala stuck together and can not be played anymore. One TV is now caput. Water entered all our cabinets and all our clothes were soaked and muddied. And worst of all, my wife and I were not even at home, since I drove her to the office in the early morning of Saturday. We were not able to drive back home Saturday afternoon during the height of the flood. We tried going back home Sunday morning at 5:00 AM, got diverted by the stalled traffic into Marikina, but had to return to Ateneo, because there was no way to reach Marcos Highway from Marikina that was not flooded. My wife and I got home Sunday evening at 7:00 PM.

Everyone is alive and safe, but not okay.

Our relatives were calling us, but our mobile phones were running out of charge. We had relatives from Los Angeles telling us that for the past weeks, LA newspapers were warning that Angat dam could fail if water is not released to safe levels. I checked the online version of Inquirer, and I found this news item:
Waters in Bulacan dams breach maximum levels - 9/26/09
26 Sep 2009 ...
PDCC reports said the water level at the Angat Dam in Norzagaray town ... administering these dams ordered the release of excess water to ease the ...

Curiously, this article has been taken down (by order of Malacanang?)

My daughter reported that the rains have already stopped and the water level is hardly above my driveway. The big flood came long after the rain has stopped, and it came very quickly, hardly the result of heavy rain. The onrush of the flood can only be explained by a mathematical technique called Catastrophe Theory, since regular heavy rain will produce regularly rising flood levels, not the catastrophic onrush of water released from catastrophic source. So the massive flooding and mass killing of flood victims was probably a result of the release of water from Angat and Ipo.

The least this government can do is to ensure that this event is not repeated -- for heaven's sake, warn the people that you intend to release water from the dams weeks ahead of time, so that they can move to safer grounds. Don't mask your evil intentions under the cover of heavy rain, and blame the flooding on the rain! Face up to your responsibility.

The fairest this government can do is to compensate the victims!

~Pablo Manalastas~

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