Typhoon Gener, Climate Change Wreak Havoc in Philippines

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Editorial comment

While the body count increases, the world keeps a respectful silence, but as soon as the rains stop, the victims will be blamed for ignoring the warnings that they should have reforested their mountains to protect them from erosion and improved the drainage in their cities to prevent flooding, in anticipation of the havoc from climate change.

Lush forests on mountains and good drainage in cities are undoubtedly a common good; however, they are quite helpless against the melting arctic and antarctic glaciers that are causing the sea level to rise, and the warmer sea-surface temperatures that are packing the storms with more water. Rather than offer advice to the grieving Filipinos, it would better to call on China, the United States, Russia, India, Japan, the European Union, Canada and South Korea to cut back their emissions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane) into the atmosphere.

As ever, it is the poor who pay for the excesses of the rich. To blame the Filipinos for failing to prepare for disaster is like suggesting someone should reinforce his ceiling and keep a mop handy because the rich upstairs neighbor likes to let his bath overflow.

Dady Chery, Editor
Haiti Chery

 

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Philippine floods persist, toll rises to 23

By Staff

AFP via Yahoo!7 News

MANILA (AFP) – Rescuers deployed rubber boats while doctors fanned across cramped evacuation centres in the Philippines as the death toll from five days of flooding reached 23 on Thursday, officials said.

Large farming towns north of the capital Manila as well as heavily populated coastal areas remained under waist deep floods, with television footage showing residents wading in muddy waters as they tried to seek safer shelters.

Residents wade on a flooded street to buy drinking water during heavy downpour in Malabon, Metro Manila August 1, 2012. Typhoon Saola (Gener) is likely to stay in Philippine territory until Friday.

Residents ride on makeshift rafts during a heavy downpour along a flooded street in Malabon, Metro Manila August 1, 2012.

Health officials meanwhile raised the alarm over a possible outbreak of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread by infected rat urine in flood waters, saying this could lead to a further spike in the death toll.

“We are appealing for help from the national government. Our town hall itself is submerged in waist deep water,”

said mayor Orencio Gabriel of Obando town on government radio as intermittent rains continued to pound many areas.

“We are all under water here,” he said.

Obando is a farming town of about 60,000 people 16 kilometres (10 miles) north of Manila where a major river system drains into Manila Bay.

But high sea tides on Thursday morning worsened the flooding by slowing down the flow of water into the bay, even as Typhoon Saola had already began bringing its fury northward to Taiwan.

“People are living in dire situations in evacuation centres and disease outbreaks are what could push the toll even higher,”

warned Carmencita Banatin, head of the department of health’s emergency management unit.

“We have rushed medicines and doctors to evacuation centres to begin immunising and stave off any explosion of diseases,”

she told AFP.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Manila said nine more people were killed due to drowning and other accidents related to Typhoon Saola, raising the toll to 23 overnight.

Saola had caused tidal surges that swept over seawalls and flooded huge parts of Manila Wednesday, forcing schools to call off classes and flights to be grounded.

Close to 180,000 people had been evacuated from 90 towns and 22 cities, many of them crowding each other in school gyms converted into temporary shelters.

Banatin said said health workers were expecting an outbreak of leptospirosis which has an incubation of about a week.

The worst outbreak of the disease occurred in Manila in 2009, when a major storm submerged more than 80 percent of the city of 15 million.

Of the more than 3,300 cases of leptospirosis cases recorded then, 249 died, making it the biggest casualty figure for the disease in the world so far, according to government and World Health Organization figures.

 

AFP video of flood.

 

‘Gener’ Toll Now 39; Aquino Visits Baseco

By Elena L. Aben and Ellalyn B. De Vera

Manila Bulletin

Manila, Philippines, August 3, 2012, 19:36 — The death toll from typhoon “Gener” (international codename: “Saola”) rose to 39 while the cost of damage to agriculture and infrastructure reached P240 million as of Friday morning [August 3], the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

Rescuers move children to an evacuation center at Malabon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. Fierce winds and heavy rains from the slow-moving Typhoon Saola battered the country, displacing 154,000 people. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila).

Residents ride on a truck after they were evacuated from their homes due to flooding in Navotas, Metro Manila August 1, 2012.

The latest NDRRMC bulletin showed that Gener affected 519,665 people in 741 villages throughout the country.

President Benigno S. Aquino III visited an evacuation center in Baseco Compound, Tondo, Manila, which sheltered residents whose shanties on the bay side were rammed by a barge during the monsoon surge in Manila Bay at the height of Gener’s onslaught.

In urging the victims not to reconstruct their shanties by the bay, Aquino assured the residents that the government will continue to assist them and find a permanent relocation area that is safer.

A total of 117 towns and 25 cities in 32 provinces were lashed by Gener. Worst hit in terms of affected population was Region 3 or Central Luzon where 48,469 families or 218,355 people in 152 villages were adversely affected by the heavy rains, winds, and floods.

Pampanga Provincial Information Officer Joel Mapiles said 11 towns were still under one- to four-feet deep floods, aggravated by the overflowing of the Pampanga River, Abacan River, Guagua River and Candaba swamp due to heavy rains.

The PDRRMC reported an estimated 5,822 families or 31,287 individuals were affected by typhoon in Pampanga, Mapiles said.

Region 4A also took a big hit with 35,530 families or 176,446 people in 185 villages affected by the typhoon, the NDRRMC said.

In Cavite alone, 31,344 families or 153,260 people from 106 villages were flooded. Out of this affected population, 4,212 families or 17,563 people are now temporarily housed in 81 evacuation centers.

Meanwhile, 11 of the latest fatalities were identified as:

  • Angela Nicole Gregorio, 12; Patricia Gregorio, 11; and Elisa Mae Dolfino, all of Malinta, Valenzuela City;
  • Anthony Capsuyan, 25; Reynaldo Polca Frio, 38; and Arlene Tinaza Paz, 16, all from Ilocos Sur;
  • Crisanto Rapusol, 22; and Winnie Capiles, 43, both from Bataan;
  • CJ Marco Carlos, 6 months, drowned in Obando, Bulacan;
  • Angel Ignacio, 6, from Pampanga; and Hazel Mae Arpullos, 6, from Occidental Mindoro.

All victims died due to drowning.

Another victim, whose body was fished out from Manila Bay, has yet to be identified.

In Obando, Bulacan where the entire municipality had been submerged in floodwater in the nine-day length of Gener’s onslaught, officials declared a state of calamity yesterday.

Floods not only submerged all of Obando’s 11 barangays but also 16 barangays in Hagonoy, and 12 in Calumpit.

One fatality was from Obando and another came from Marilao (Meycauayan as reported by the NDRRMC), said Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, also the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) chief.

The NDRRMC later identified them as:

  • Jerome Orea, 19, and Justin Francisco, 19, whose bodies were fished out of Manila Bay.

Noting that most of the fatalities were drowning victims, NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos appealed to the public to take all necessary precautions during the typhoon season.

He particularly urged parents to monitor their children and not to allow them to go swimming during heavy rains.

“I can only surmise na itong mga kabataan sa statistics na ito na nakuha natin karamihan sa kanila ay kabataan, nagswimming. Karamihan dito ay nalunod dahil malalakas, matataas yung alon kagaya sa area ng Ilocos Sur at dito rin sa may coastal towns ng Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, even sa Metro Manila,” said Ramos.

In Malacañang, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte government would rather focus on providing assistance to affected residents rather than on pinpointing who is at fault.

But she said recent flooding in the metropolis “should serve as a lesson for all of us,” noting the amount of trash collected from the Manila Bay area that resulted in heavy flooding in Roxas Boulevard.

“We do appeal to the residents along these areas that have been identified as danger areas to heed the appeal of the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) para maiwasan yung pinsala sa kanila (to keep them away from harm),” Valte said.

Speaking at Baseco Compound with the President, DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman said there are 145 houses ready for occupancy in Montalban, Rizal, where the first batch of residents can be relocated.

Relocation, however, will be voluntary.

There were an estimated 212 families affected by the barge ramming incident in Baseco Compound.

Aquino said once in permanent relocation sites, residents will be provided livelihood trainings, urging the affected residents to take the opportunity being offered to them by the government.

The President also urged other residents living in danger areas, such as those living under bridges, near creeks and rivers, among others, to relocate in safer areas.

There are 1.4 million informal settler families in the country, of which 560,000 are in the National Capital Region (NCR), including 130,000 families living in danger zones.

The President also handed out relief assistance to the affected residents, which included blankets, rice, and canned goods.

The NDRRMC said damage to agriculture was pegged at P79,730,000 while damage to infrastructure reached P170,419,615 for a total of P240,149,615.48.

The NDRRMC said 776 houses were also totally destroyed during the onslaught of the typhoon while, while 3,528 were damaged.

Several towns in Pangasinan were flooded yesterday after the San Roque Dam in San Manuel released water due to heavy rains.

The dam opened one gate by 0.5 meter at 10 p.m. Thursday for pre-emptive water release, said Engineer Tom Valdez, vice-president for operations of the San Roque Power Corporation.

He said continuous inflow from Ambuklao dam prompted the pre-emptive release in preparation for heavy rainfall even if San Roque water level was only at 278 meters above sea level (masl).

San Roque dam’s spilling level is at 280 masl while the critical level is 290 masl.San Roque dam’s spilling level is at 280 masl while the critical level is 290 masl.

A state of calamity due to the effects of Gener was also declared in the Navotas City in Metro Manila, Barangays Hacienda, Portic and Cayanga in Bugallon, Pangasinan; Obando, Bulacan; Mabitac, Laguna; Bacoor, Tanza, Ternate, Rosario, Kawit, Naic, Noveleta, and Cavite City in Cavite; San Luis and Lemery in Batangas; and San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

But as far as away as Western Visayas, the aftermath of typhoon Gener and the southwest monsoon have displaced 14,708 people.

Speaking in Iloilo City, Office of Civil Defense (OCD-6) Director Rosario Cabrera disclosed that the number of residents affected in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental has risen despite the storm having left the country.

Cabrera, who also chairs the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC-6), noted that three people died, nine injured, and one missing in the aftermath of the twin weather disturbances that did not even directly hit Western Visayas.

Flood, storm surges and landslides have displaced 3,394 families across the region. It has totally damaged 190 houses and partially damaged 1,633 houses.

The province of Negros Occidental remains the most affected with 9,399 persons displaced, 97 totally damaged and 1,081 partially damaged houses.

It is followed by Iloilo City with 2,958 people displaced, 78 totally damaged and 367 partially damaged houses. Most of the damaged houses were along the coastal lines of Molo and Arevalo districts.

There were also numerous damages to houses and infrastructures in the provinces of Aklan, Antique and Iloilo. —with reports from Madel R. Sabater, Franco G. Regala, Freddie C. Velez, Liezle Basa Iñigo, and Tara Yap

($1 = 41.8500 Philippine pesos)

 

UPDATE Aug 4, 2012 (YahooNews): Typhoon Gener left the Philippines for Taiwan early Friday August 3.

 

Monsoon rains swamp Philippine capital, markets shut

By Manuel Mogato (reporting), Rosemarie Francisco and Ed Lane (editing)

Reuters

  • Businesses, government offices, markets ordered shut.
  • President appeals for help from civic workers, police and military.

MANILA, Philippines — Deadly torrential rains submerged much of the Philippine capital and surrounding areas on Tuesday, Aug 7 forcing nearly 270,000 people to flee their homes with more flooding expected in the north of the country as a tropical storm passes through the region, officials said.

Typhoon victims rest at an evacuation center in Manila July 31, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Erik De Castro).

Residents ride on an inflatable boat through floodwaters as they head for safer areas in the village of Tumana of the Marikina town in suburban Manila on August 7, 2012 (Source: PressTV).

Steady rains for the past 10 days, killing more than 50 people, are set to continue until Wednesday, the Philippines weather bureau said, fueled by tropical storm “Haikui” in the Philippine Sea northeast of Taiwan. The storm is headed for China’s Zhejiang province where more than 250,000 people have been evacuated ahead of expected landfall late on Wednesday.

“It’s like Waterworld,”

said Benito Ramos, head of the Philippines national disaster agency, referring to a Hollywood movie about a flooded world.

For a video link, see: http://link.reuters.com/qej89s

VIDEO: Philippines landslide kills nine (1 min).  A landslide triggered by heavy rains killed nine people and injured four others in a northern suburb of Manila on Tuesday Aug 7, 2012. The dead were all members of the same family, and the injured victims were neighbours.

Schools , financial markets, and public and private offices were ordered shut, including outsourcing firms whose corporate clients are mainly from the United States and Europe.

Disaster officials said over half of Manila was swamped by floods as high as three metres, worsened by a high tide and the release of water from dams in surrounding provinces.

President Benigno Aquino, in an emergency meeting briefly interrupted by a power failure at the main army base in Manila, ordered officials to exert maximum effort to aid residents in flooded areas. Officials have deployed army troops, police and emergency workers with rubber boats and amphibious trucks.

The monsoon rains, which dumped about 300 mm (12 inches) or three times the daily average of 80-100 mm from late Monday to Tuesday, were the heaviest in three years, the weather bureau said.

Typhoon Ketsana, which swamped 80 percent of the capital in 2009, aided a monsoon downpour of more than 450 mm (18 inches) in a 24-hour period.

Major roads inundated

Most major roads in Manila were inundated by knee- to waist-deep floodwaters. Some flights were delayed or cancelled. Power, water and communications in flooded areas were disrupted.

Some of the affected residents were marooned on the roofs of their houses.

“There are about 5,000 people here,”

said Ester Ronabio, a public school teacher and volunteer in one of the temporary shelter areas in low-lying Marikina City in the eastern part of Manila.

“We can’t control the flow of people.”

In a sign of the difficult scramble to move people to safety, Aquino appealed to an anti-graft court to release dozens of rubber boats held as evidence in a case against senior police officials for use in evacuation efforts.

Residents of Manila expressed concern the rains were a repeat of Typhoon Ketsana which killed more than 700 people and destroyed $1 billion worth of private and public property.

“The floods are so deep where we live, we don’t want a repeat of Typhoon Ketsana a few years ago,”

Melanio David, a father of four, told Reuters.

“We got scared so we evacuated last night.”

($1 = 41.8500 Philippine pesos)

 

Orange alert issued

By Shianee Mamanglu
Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines, August 9, 2012 — The incessant rains in Metro Manila and nearby provinces appear not to taper down anytime soon as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) raised anew its rainfall alert from Yellow to Orange.

A man tries to keep his personal items dry in a plastic bag as he swims along deep floodwaters in Marikina, east of Manila, Philippines on Thursday August 9, 2012. A fresh deluge forced more evacuations along fast-rising rivers in the Philippine capital Thursday, as the city and surrounding areas struggled to deal with widespread flooding triggered by nearly two weeks of relentless rains (Credit: AP/Aaron Favila).

As of 9 this morning, the weather bureau issued the Orange warning signal after it recorded heavy rainfall (8.5-12mm/hr) over Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Quezon City and Marikina.

Heavy rains were also registered over the vicinity of Bulacan while light to moderate rains were noted over Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga and Tarlac.

PAGASA said residents can expect Moderate to Heavy (7.5-15.0 mm/hr) rains with occasional Intense (15.0-30.0 mm/hr) rains over Camanava, Quezon City and nearby areas within 2 hrs owing to the effect of the series of thunderstorms embedded in the Southwest Monsoon.

Light to Moderate (2.5-7.0 mm/hr) rains will also be expected over Manila & Marikina.

 

‘Helen’ now a storm; 7 areas in Luzon under storm signal

By Staff
Sun Star

NASA Terra satellite captured an image of Tropical Storm Helen (international code name Kai-tak), located just off the east coast of the Philippines on Aug. 13 at 0230 UTC (Aug. 12 at 10:30 p.m. EDT).

Manila, Philippines (3rd update, 1:31 p.m. Monday, August 13, 2012) — Seven areas in Northern Luzon have been placed under public storm warning as Tropical Depression Helen intensified into a storm, the state weather bureau said Monday.

In its latest weather update Monday noon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said public storm signal no. 1 was raised in the provinces of: Batanes,

  • Isabela,
  • Kalinga,
  • Apayao,
  • Cagayan,
  • Calayan Group of Islands,
  • Babuyan Group of Islands.

Those areas are expected to experience winds of 30 to 60 kilometers per hour (kph) within the next 36 hours.

Residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signals are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides, while those residing in coastal areas under public storm warning signal no. 1 are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated, PAGASA said.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, the center of Tropical Storm Helen (international name: Kai-Tak) was located based on satellite and surface data at 550 kilometers (km) east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora.

It packed maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

PAGASA said “Helen” carries about 15-35 millimeters per hour (0.6 to 1.5 inches per hour, heavy to torrential) of rainfall within its 400-km diameter coverage.

“Helen” is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon that will bring rains over Luzon and the Visayas especially over the western section. The storm might leave the country by Thursday.

“Locally heavy downpours are possible across Luzon in the northern Philippines from Monday through Wednesday. This area has already seen flooding rain over the past week, and additional rainfall will result in the potential for more significant flooding and mudslides to occur,”

meteorologist Eric Leister of accuweather.com said.

By the middle of the week, Leister said “Helen” could also impact Taiwan, another area which has been affected by Typhoon Saola (“Gener” in the Philippines) less than two weeks ago. “Helen” may develop into a typhoon on its way to Southern China on Thursday.

PAGASA said intermittent light to moderate rains (2.5-7.5 mm/hr, or 0.1-0.3 inch/hour) are now affecting Central and Southern Luzon becoming more frequent moderate to heavy rains (7.5-10 mm/hr, o.r 0.3-0.4 inch.hour) during the latter part of the day towards the evening over Camarines provinces, Quezon province, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Mindoro, Bataan, Zambales and Metro Manila.

PAGASA said “Helen” is forecast to move west northwest at 13 kilometers per hour. On Tuesday morning, it is expected to be 330 km east northeast of Tuguegarao City.

By Wednesday morning, it is expected to be 80 km north northeast of Aparri, Cagayan; and on Thursday morning, 220 km west of Basco, Batanes.

(PNA/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

 

‘Helen’ leaves 7 dead, crop damage

By Rio Rose Ribaya
Reuters via Yahoo!

Tropical Storm “Helen” has left seven people dead, three others wounded, and two more missing before leaving the Philippine area of responsibility Thursday.

Dozens of houses are submerged in floodwaters after tropical storm Kai-Tak, (locally named Helen) hit Baguio city in northern Philippines August 15, 2012. Kai-Tak battered northern Philippines after making landfall on Wednesday, killing at least seven people, disaster officials said (Credit: Reuters/Stringer).

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) administrator Benito Ramos said among the casualties was a baby girl in Ilocos Norte.

In a situation report, Ramos said one-year old Princess Natalie Jamon drowned in Barangay San Pedro, Paoay in Ilocos Norte.

Ramos said that 58-year old Janofe Pandosen and 42-year old Elmer Domines died in a landslide in Baguio City even after being rescued and brought to Baguio General Hospital.

He added that 49-year old Fernando Dingayen lost his life after being hit by a falling tree in Sitio Hilltop, Talifugo, Conner in Apayao province.

The NDRRMC executive director also verified that 47-year old Sabino Mosquite Yankee Macasinag died due to electrocution in Barangay Lioac, Nacguilan in La Union province.

Ramos also said that 37-year old Armando Valdez Borbon and Andrew Mariano Batara drowned in separate incidents in Pangasinan and Ilocos Norte.

Borbon reportedly experienced an epileptic episode before falling into a flooded ricefield where he drowned while Batara was dragged by a strong current after going swimming in a river in Barangay Madamra in Dingras, Ilocos Norte.

Ramos said that 24-year old Joy Aspiras was injured in an accident with her eight-month old baby, Maria Sandria in Nazareno, Agoo in La Union province while 62-year old Marcos Baniguen miraculously survived a landslide in Baguio City.

The defense undersecretary also reported that fishermen Rodolfo Tayas and Winifredo Tojon are still missing after going out to fish in Camarines Norte on August 13.

Ramos estimated that around P800,000 worth of agricultural products were lost after Tropical Storm “Helen” inundated towns in Ilocos Sur and La Union since her landfall on Tuesday.

 

‘Helen’ out of PH

By Kim Arveen Patria
Yahoo!

Tropical storm “Helen” is moving faster away from the Philippines, the weather bureau said, as it lowered all public storm warning signals in the country early Thursday.

In its 4 a.m. update, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Helen is forecast to move west northwest 24 kilometers per hour (kph).

“Tropical Storm ‘Helen’ is already out of the Philippine area of responsibility or at 530 kilometers west northwest of Laoag City this afternoon,” PAGASA said.

It was estimated at 290 kilometers west northwest of Laoag Ciy 4 a.m. Thursday.

“All public storm warning signals are now lowered,” PAGASA said.

This, as it noted that Helen, which has maintained maximum sustained winds of 85 kph near the center and gustiness of 100 kph, may continue to bring rains over some areas in the country.

“[T]his disturbance will continue to enhance the southwest monsoon bringing rains and moderate to strong winds over Luzon and Western Visayas,” PAGASA said.

It also warned residents in low-lying and mountainous areas affected by southwest monsoon against possible flashfloods and landslides.

“Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the Seaboards of Luzon and Western Visayas due to the combined effect of Tropical Storm ‘Helen’ and the southwest monsoon,” PAGASA said.

 

Condolences to Philippines where life must go on

Nearly three weeks of typhoon Gener followed by monsoon rains and tropical storm Helen have caused the worst flooding in years in the Philippines. In this archipelago with 103 million people, about 2 million have been affected, including more than 100 who have died and 300,000 who have been displaced. Our deepest sympathies from Haiti Chery.

Dady Chery, Editor
Haiti Chery

 

An evacuee, who just gave birth, rests in a temporary shelter in Marikina City, Metro Manila August 9, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo).

A girl cooks a meal at a sports complex turned evacuation centre in Calumpit town, Bulacan province, north of Manila August 9, 2012 (Credit: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters).

A boy gets a haircut in the town of Panghulo, Malabon August 10, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/John Javellana).

Ramoncito Campo kisses his wife Hernelie Ruazol Campo on a flooded street during a southwest monsoon that battered Manila (Reuters / Courtesy of Ramoncito Campo)

 

Video of an early effort at flood clean up before tropical storm Helen’s arrival (48 sec).

 

For PAGASA updates, click here.

 

Sources: Haiti CheryAFP via Yahoo!7 News | Manila Bulletin #1 | Reuters | Manila Bulletin #2 | Sun Star | Reuters via Yahoo! | Yahoo!

 

 

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