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Tzu Chi volunteers survey 'second Ondoy'

August 13, 2018 | Jonas Trinidad

Mud and garbage blanket this road along a local creek at the border of Barangay Malanday and Tumana in Marikina City. While paling in comparison with the destruction left by Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana) in 2009, the flooding on August 11 resurged memories the residents of Marikina want to forget. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi’s relief efforts for the inundated residents of Marikina City and the town of San Mateo, Rizal continue on August 13, as volunteers venture into the streets strewn with mud and waste.


Tzu Chi’s relief efforts for the inundated residents of Marikina City and the town of San Mateo, Rizal continue on August 13, as volunteers venture into the streets strewn with mud and waste.

The day before, Tzu Chi volunteers conducted an emergency relief operation in the area for hundreds of families in evacuation centers. Because of the weather, however, they never got the chance to fully assess the situation in the affected barangays. When a team of volunteers led by Tzu Chi Philippines deputy-CEO Alfredo Li returned, they witnessed what they believe is an iteration of Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana).

“The situation is grave, although not as grave as [Ondoy] nine years ago. Regardless, the people here still need help, as they can’t clean all this mud by themselves,” said Li.

Unlike Ondoy, which somewhat hit Metro Manila, the flooding this year was caused by the pull of Tropical Storm Yagi (Karding) against the monsoon. Relentless heavy rain in the mountains of Rizal brought a torrent of muddy water to flood the Marikina River rapidly. By the evening of August 11, the water level reached its peak of 20.6 meters, prompting an immediate evacuation of families in flood-prone areas.

By comparison, the water level when Ondoy struck in 2009 peaked at 23 meters.

Despite the locals learning the lessons from Ondoy, many of their belongings were still swept away or inundated by the muddy water. Some residents remained on the third floor of others’ homes because the evacuation centers were already full. The covered court in Barangay Malanday, Marikina City, for instance, could only hold 173 families.

“There’s a lot of garbage on the streets, and that’s not even all of it. They still have some inside, which they can’t take out yet,” said Tzu Chi volunteer Angie Soriano, a resident of Malanday.

Despite receiving food during Tzu Chi’s relief activity on August 11, Tzu Chi volunteer Emerlena Decena hasn’t eaten anything since her house was flooded. The surveying volunteers saw her and tried to ease her persistent fear.

“The water rose too fast. We couldn’t move our things fast enough,” she recounted.

With cleaning their home taking priority, Jholan Paul Macapagal worries about where he’ll get money for his family’s needs for now. He can’t report for work as a truck driver until the mud and waste has been cleared out. On top of that, there’s still the danger of the flood recurring.

“I should be at work today. But I have to stay here and clean,” he said.

In neighboring Barangay Tumana, the local creek is filled with garbage swept away by the flood. But tons more remain along the narrow roads. Cris Llada, a resident, has been cleaning to the point of already contracting athlete’s foot.

“I have cuts all over my hands and legs. But there’s still a lot more to clean,” Llada said.

After the survey, Tzu Chi volunteers propose a widespread cash-for-work program be held to mobilize all available manpower in the area for the cleanup. They also propose leasing heavy equipment such as dump trucks.

  • The mighty Marikina River slowly returns to normal levels after days of torrential rains. It reached its peak level of 20.6 meters on the evening of August 11, prompting a massive evacuation of low-lying areas. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The local covered court in Barangay Malanday serves as a temporary home for 173 families. Already full, however, other families were forced to seek refuge at homes that are three stories high. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Emerlena Decena (right) hasn’t been able to eat or sleep since the flooding. As soon as Tzu Chi volunteers arrived for the survey, the 66-year-old volunteer rushed to their side. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Note the waterline on this residence. The locals point it out as the peak extent of the flooding. In some areas, even the second floor of homes weren’t spared. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • One of the roads into Barangay Malanday’s interior is strewn with flooded waste. The flood came too fast for most families to save their belongings. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • A family cleans the belongings that survived the flooding. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • With nowhere else to dispose the garbage, this boy dumps it on the street. Trucks from the city government make rounds collecting the garbage, but there are too few available to dispose of it quickly. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • In Barangay Tumana, Tzu Chi volunteers stand outside one of the inundated houses. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Cris Llada has his work cut out for him, cleaning to the point of wounding his hands and legs. Because of the disaster, a day that could’ve been spent working for a living was spent on recovering. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The effect of the flood is much worse in Barangay Banaba in San Mateo, Rizal. Deep mud slowed the advance of Tzu Chi volunteers into the interior. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer Michael Siao shows his boots half-deep in the mud. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】


  • 20180816 Intensive flood survey in Marikina and San Mateo

  • LAST UPDATED: August 18, 2018 10:08 AM