Despite the misery that the rains have brought to the city, it's inspiring to see how the Filipino spirit remains indomitable in the face of disaster. Many groups have come out and issued the call for relief goods to help those affected by the floods. On television, we could see the heroic efforts of the rescue teams to succor those in need.
It's also good to know that, to some extent, our government has learned from the tragedy that was "Ondoy". As Philippine Star editor-in-chief Anna Marie Pamintuan notes,
At around 9 p.m. Monday, one of our editors was informed that her family, living in San Pedro, Laguna, had been told by local authorities to evacuate as the waters of Laguna de Bay rose.
There was little hesitation; the family prepared to comply. And so did other residents in the communities around the lake. By dawn, the covered court in the barangay was crowded with evacuees.
That was one lesson learned from typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in late September and early October 2009 in the lakeshore areas. Never mind concerns about burglars; when there’s a flood evacuation alert, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
That 2009 cataclysm left some indelible lessons. People in flood-prone communities, for example, have become better prepared for afflictions such as skin diseases and leptospirosis that can develop when wading in floods.
At the ground level of the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, there were only a few vehicles trapped in the flood yesterday. It was the scene of chaos during Ondoy when rampaging floodwaters washed away vehicles parked in the compound.
Since Ondoy, rescue and disaster relief agencies have acquired additional rubber boats and other equipment to assist people in flooded areas.
However, Pamintuan also notes the lack of proper evacuation facilities, which make people, not knowing what awaits them at the evacuation centers, hesitant to leave their houses. It's something for the government to look into once the floods subside. (And, as I write, the rains have started yet again. Sigh.)
One has to wonder what's up with the weather, considering that there was no typhoon in the country's area of responsibility, yet the rains that fell on Metro Manila apparently exceeded the rainfall of typhoon "Ondoy". Some will question the government's flood prevention infrastructure, while others will point to climate change as the culprit. Yet others will say that the rains are the sign of God's displeasure over the House of Representatives' vote on the reproductive health bill.
Whatever the reason, it's good to see that our countrymen and our government appear to be better prepared to deal with this situation.