EDITORIAL - Remembering Ondoy
(The Philippine Star) - September 26, 2015 - 10:00am

A fluvial parade was held in Marikina yesterday to mark the sixth anniversary of the storm that inundated Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon, leaving nearly 300 people dead or missing. Marikina was among the hardest hit, with at least 78 fatalities reported. Apart from mud, the city had to grapple with 100,000 liters of bunker oil that spilled from a paper factory.

Ondoy was not even classified as a super typhoon, but it dumped torrential amounts of rain incessantly for several hours. Within that short period, the Marikina and Pasig Rivers, creeks and other waterways broke their banks. In many parts of Metro Manila, floodwaters rose with alarming speed, reaching up to the second floor in several areas. Cars were swept away by surging waters. Roads were blocked, flights were cancelled, communications were down and power and water supplies disrupted. People had to be rescued from rooftops. Damage was placed at $100 million.

Since then the government has acquired more equipment to forecast the amount of rainfall that may be spawned by storms and typhoons, with a color-coded warning system developed for floods. Rescue capabilities have been enhanced.

As recent events have shown, however, flood control still has much room for improvement. And weather forecasters have said they cannot predict the amount of rainfall that may be brought by a thunderstorm, which was what hit Metro Manila three weeks ago. That Sept. 8 thunderstorm lasted only an hour, but it spawned massive flooding that paralyzed Metro Manila.

The typhoon season is not yet over, and a more powerful weather disturbance is always possible. Super Typhoon Yolanda struck in November 2013, and the provinces it devastated have not yet fully recovered. Yesterday’s commemoration of Ondoy should spur authorities to further improve disaster preparedness, response and mitigation, including flood control.

AMOUNT LUZON MANILA MARIKINA MARIKINA AND PASIG RIVERS METRO METRO MANILA ONDOY SUPER TYPHOON YOLANDA THAT SEPT TYPHOON
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