Insights and Resolutions on Rain-Flood Emergencies
Reynaldo O. Joson, MD, MHA, MHPEd, MSc Surg
August 8, 2012
Over the past 2 to 3 weeks, I have been seriously thinking of a more effective way to avoid being trapped in rain-flood situations on the street of Metro Manila. I can vividly remember how “lucky” I was on at least three consecutive occasions during the past 2 to 3 weeks that I was not caught in rain-flood situations. Lucky because I did not have a very systematic way of predicting or forecasting when and where the rain-floods would be. My only general guide has been to stay home as much as possible when I see strong rains and incessant ones. Nowadays, even in the absence of signal 2 typhoons and with brief period of rains, floods can occur.
The first occasion I remember was on July 20, on a weekday, Friday, when I left Manila Doctors Hospital quarter to 5 pm. It was not raining hard then. I thought it was just another ordinary rain shower. There was, however, heavy downfall, when I was at home already at about 6 pm for about an hour. The next day, I was surprised to hear from friends how they were trapped in the rains and floods from 6 to 9 pm the day before in United Nations Avenue, Taft Avenue, and South Super-Highway., where I used to pass also. I told myself, I was just lucky. If I left later than 5 pm, my car and I would be caught in the flood and traffic also.
The second occasion was on August 1, 2012, at about 7 am. It was not raining hard then. I was on my way to Manila Doctors Hospital from Makati. I had to pass by Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center before going to MDH. My usual route has been from OMMC to Roxas Boulevard and then to United Nations to MDH. When I saw there was heavy traffic along Roxas Boulevard, but not knowing what was causing the traffic, I decided to take the Taft Avenue route. Later, I learned of the cause of the traffic along Roxas Boulevard – flood and storm surge. Again, I told myself, I was lucky.
The last and most recent occasion was on August 6, 2012, Monday, two days ago. I decided not to go to the hospitals because of incessant rains. The rest is history. August 6 to 8, 2012, today, Metro Manila was still flooded by the southwest monsoon (almost 3 days). The perimeter of MDH was also flooded. A lot of MDH staff got stranded on the night of August 6, August 7, and up to today, time of this writing, August 8, 201, where there is still flood. Had I been in MDH, I too would be stranded. Again, I was lucky.
Here are my new resolutions to avoid to being trapped in the rain-flood situations on the streets of Metro Manila and outside my house.
- I will continue to practice my foremost policy to stay home as much as possible when I see and hear of strong rain that transpired and is still going on and also incessant rains.
- During rainy seasons and during times when there are rains, I will actively monitor the rain-flood situations in Metro Manila through the following and decide what to do:
A. Metro Manila Development Authority
i. Website – http://www.mmda.gov.ph
ii. Twitter – https://twitter.com/MMDA
ii. Twitter – https://twitter.com/dost_pagasa
C. Internet news (from at least one)
ii. GMA News
iii. Philippine Daily Inquirer
D. Inquiry to my colleagues and friends, particularly through cellphones on status of rain-flood situations in my places of work
i. Manila Doctors Hospital
ii. Philippine General Hospital
iii. Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center
E.. Facebook and emails
For Number 2 resolution, I will make full use of my smartphone, especially, when I am outside my house and on the road. Before, I said I will not go into Twitter. Now, there is need to go for it for the above justification.
I hope my Lancer car and I don’t get trapped in rain-flood situations again starting this year!!! I will monitor how effective my new strategies will be.
Note: I will try to recall and write on the occasions that I got trapped in rain-flood situations in the past. Some of them are listed below.
- Circa – 1972-1973, when my car and I got caught in the flood in Sta. Mesa on my way from Quezon City to the Philippine General Hospital. I was driving an old green Toyota Corolla. Water seived into the inside of the car. For a while, the car was floating in the flood water until some street boys pushed the car to a safe place.
- Circa 2005, when my present Lancer car and I got caught in the flood in Kamagoong Street in Makati. Water sieved into the car. This was the time that I noticed the flooring of my car had several holes. As usual, the street boys saved me and my car. Thereafter, I had to have my flooring fixed in G&P car care shop.
- During the typhoon Ondoy in 2009, I was trapped in Manila Doctors Hospital. I slept in a patient’s room in MDH.
- In 2009 or 2010, after Ondoy, I cannot remember the name of the tyhoon anymore, I was trapped at 6:00 pm in Roxas Boulevard near EDSA when my Lancer car got stalled by floods, again with water getting inside the car. I reached home at 12:00 after my car was towed by G&P to a safe place. My son, Lance, had to fetch me in Shopwise in Pasong Tamo, Makati before I could reach home at 12 midnight.
Number 4 was the last major incident that I had. I could have more in the past, especially minor ones, which I cannot recall now. At any rate, I hope with my 2012 resolutions above, I will not have an additional major rain-flood situation in the future.