by Sherwin Sierda
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Residents of the city recalled natural disasters of last year as they admit to personally keeping watch of the water level with the rainy season.
“Yes, there can be floods outside our home but it doesn’t come to a point where it reaches inside our house, except during the heaviest typhoons—just like what happened last year,” said Tugbungan resident Hirona Namba, who lives by the river, narrated her story.
Last year a typhoon brought flood waters into their residence. Property was damaged and they tried to salvage the rest by pushing them to higher elevated areas of their house. It was a struggle because it was the first time they experienced it, and she said they are better prepared this year for such an instance.
Zamboanga City has been experiencing heavy rainfall from the start of October, and many residents have become wary of possible floods inside their households just like in previous years.
As we recall, it was on October 27, when typhoon Quinta left the Philippine area of Responsibility, and Typhoon Rolly came in the country on October 30, before Typhoon Ulysses ravaged Cagayan, Tuguegarao, and nearby provinces.
Mayor Beng Climaco advised the 98 barangays to remain on alert and monitor 24 hours the situation in their area of responsibility, as the city continues to experience inclement weather. Water level at the Pasonanca intake weir has reached critical level. People living along the river banks and low lying areas should be on high alert to undertake pre-emptive evacuation to prevent the loss of lives and properties amidst the unstable weather condition. The Barangay disaster risk reduction management councils will be on site in case of sudden flood to respond and mitigate risks that may be caused by flash floods, landslides, damage to infrastructures, loss of crops and other hazards due to rain.
Jefferson Sorioso, a resident of Upper Calarian, shared the same sentiment with Hirona, “Traumatic. We can’t sleep because the flood continually rises at midnight, so that we have to move our things to higher places at home. At midnight the entire neighbourhood was flooded, the water reached above ankle deep, Electricity was out and they were moving their property in total darkness,” he said. They have elevated their house, and cemented the yard and fences to be prepared for future floods.
“Nagkakaroon na ng baha malapit saamin at napaguusapan na namin sa bahay ang gagawin kapag bumaha ng mataas,” said Jerico Fernandez, a resident of Putik, despite not experiencing heavy floods in their household, Jerico and his family still fear for possible floods to get inside their homes, They have water leaking from the ceiling and they placed containers to catch the water falling from the roofs.
This experience is shared by Piolo Bagotao, a resident of Boalan. Because of the heavy rain water almost reached the floor level of their house, after the rain they placed gravel and rocks around the house, and there was little to no instance of flood coming into their residence.
“During the time in La Niña rain falls are too often that we have to be vigilant and prepared for situations that will come,” Bagotao added. (Sherwin Sierda)