Reminiscing Ondoy And One Fact About It

I was having a writer’s block last night when it’s time for me to have an update on this blog until I recall a Rappler news article about Typhoon Ondoy during its fourth anniversary last September 26, 2013. Ondoy (international codename Ketsana) in 2009, brought massive rainfall and caused severe flooding in our city measuring 6-feet deep inside our single-storey house. The muddy water that engulfed our abode caused much damage to us financially and I remember posting my shortest blog on record after the incident.

Ondoy was branded then as a typhoon that brought the highest rainfall that caused the most damaging flood in our recent history. Having resided and witnessed massive rains at our place in Marikina City for 13 years before Ondoy hit us, I can say that we experienced the worst flood that day but I cannot convince myself that it was caused by the heaviest rainfall to ever hit Metro-Manila. Many possible causes like opening of dams and seriously clogged drainage system were cited but our government insisted that it was the unexpected heavy rainfall that cause the Ondoy phenomenon.

Insistent in my mind was my belief that the massive floods brought by Ondoy was not caused by heavy rainfall as claimed by the authorities. It would had been caused by something else which I do not know until sometime in 2010, while doing the guardian’s chore to our only grandchild attending her pre-school classes in a nearby subdivision, I saw at the back of her school a wide opening in the rip-rapped embankment (called dike by many) of Banaba River. When I asked the school caretaker, I was told that the dike broke during Typhoon Ondoy and that the water that flooded the nearby areas including our subdivision passed through that opening.

Having known that fact which our local officials at that time kept secret to us, I became more interested to find some more facts that would belie the reason of the Ondoy flooding as touted by them. Luckily, the article I mentioned above contains the figures I was looking for. Below is a part of the table I lifted from the article and it shows the rainfall measurements for Ondoy and Habagat 2012 taken from the same location.

From the figures in the table, it can be clearly seen that Ondoy’s rainfall of 556.1 mm for a period of 4 days was much less than the 3-day period of rains measuring 1,007.4 mm for Habagat 2012. With the higher measured rainfall, you would expect that flooding in our area was worse during Habagat 2012 but such was not the case because even the street infront of our house did not get flooded. Let me add that the rip-rapped embankment was already restored when Habagat 2012 hit our place. My question is “Why did our government officials during the time of Ondoy lied to us about the real reason for the disastrous event?”.

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