Wednesday, August 8, 2012

PILIPINAS: Get Ready For The Next One.

Pilipinas: Get Ready For the Next One

I remember back in 2009, when Typhoon Ondoy wreaked havoc in the Philippines and caused severe damage, not to mention hundreds of casualties and thousands of families rendered homeless with not enough food, clean drinking water, and medicine for weeks. I remember over-populated evacuation centers where people were developing all sorts of sicknesses. I remember watching the news, and seeing video footages of people disappearing under the water, huge vehicles, and even houses being carried away by the flash floods as if they were paper boats.

I remember watching on television, celebrities leading telethons, raising funds to help the victims of the floods and relief operations being conducted in several parts of the country, while rescue teams and concerned citizens worked together to help stranded families. I remember countries from all over the world, sending donations. I remember people praying together. ONE nation, slowly rising from it all…

Looking back, I was amazed at how resilient the Filipinos truly are. It was very inspiring.
But, don’t be too quick to assume that I’m writing a tear-jerker. Not at all, folks. Because fast forward to 2012, and it’s all happening all over again. 

Now, I’m living in a different country, which puts things in a whole different perspective. Not that I don’t admire the Filipinos’ resilience, and compassion and team work. That trip down memory lane made me feel proud. 
HOWEVER, we’ve done a lot of  the praying, and the donating, and the rescuing, and the recovering….But I have one question: Has anybody really come up with any long-term solutions to these flash floods? Because let’s face it, floods are part of nature. They WILL keep happening. In fact, according to research, the Earth’s climate is continuously warming up, which means: MORE floods to come in the years ahead! The Filipinos are survivors, yes. But why “survive” it when we can prevent it.

Now before some smart-ass reader asks “Seriously, how can we stop the rain from falling? ….A Sun-dance?” :-/

I’m talking about flood preventive measures that are already being utilized in other countries for sooo many years now.

I’m talking widening the dams that we already have, and building dry dams, that serve purely for flood control without any conservation storage.
I’m talking river defenses like levees, and reservoirs, and weirs, and Coastal defenses such as sea walls, and barrier islands.

How about some wiser planning of land use by developers before cutting down all the trees, and building condominiums?!

Or widening and deepening the drains in flood-prone areas? Or improving waste management so as to prevent the drains from clogging? In addition to public awareness and early preparation BEFORE the rainy season starts. 

Ladies and gents, I can go on and on.  Go ahead and do your own research about the best practices on flood prevention, protection and mitigation, as concluded by other countries that have been through massive floods back in the day and refused to go through it again.
 It’s frustrating to see our brothers and sisters struggling through this calamity when we should’ve learned from last time, and the time before, and the time before.
A wise person once said: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. It’s time we do more than praying, and fund-raising, and donating, and recovering.  Getting up from a fall is not enough. We must move forward.

To know more about flood control, prevention, protection, and mitigation done in other countries, please see the following references:

Check this out, Tokyo’s gigantic subterranean water infrastructure project: (I know, I know…. They have Yen, we have pesos. But it IS, undeniably, an awesome idea.)
I am posting this now, hoping to inspire some people in authority to take action.

Because, like it or not….the next flood is coming.

-From a concerned but still hopeful Filipino,
Jen Bautista

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