Cagayan de Oro City, December 3, 2012 (10.30 am) - On December 16, 2011, typhoon Sendong hit the northern part of Mindanao devastating Iligan and Cagayan de Oro City causing a massive landslides and flash floods that killed more than a thousand of people. Intense rain for several hours resulted to flash floods that swept barangays near Cagayan de Oro River and Mandulog River in Iligan City at midnight where people were asleep after resting early brought by cold rainy night and untimely brown out earlier that day.
|Photo taken as water subsides after 3 hours of flash flood.|
Our home was not sparred by the flood. It came in the morning as I was awakened by Emily after the wall of our subdivision was breached and ravaging murky water was filling up the streets. Flood water had submerged our home up to waist-deep leaving some of our home appliances, clothes, and furniture drenched in mud.
|Our share of Sendong|
Cagayan de Oro City was left without potable water for a month after local water utility facilities were destroyed. Power was only restored after 3 days and dust subsided after months of cleaning.
Typhoon Sendong sustained winds were at 90 kilometers per hour (kph) or 55 miles per hour and it unleashed more than 200mm (7.9 in) of rain causing the watershed and rivers to overflow. It was the worst storm that hit Philippines in 12 years. Because of the enormous damage and high death toll brought by Sendong, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) had retired the name Sendong in its typhoon naming list.
Today, less than a year after, another storm is brewing in the Pacific Ocean and slowly creeping the same path as typhoon Sendong, this time, it is named Pablo (international code name Bhopa). PAGASA forecasted that typhoon Pablo has maximum sustained winds of 175 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 210 kph and will landfall tomorrow morning. As signal no. 2 was raised in my home province, Surigao del Sur, we are now preparing our contingency plan and had done packing our important documents. We had already charged our cellphones and radio and constantly monitoring typhoon updates from PAGASA though its website www.noah.dost.gov.ph. Real time information such as satellite images, typhoon track, rainfall and other data are provided by the website. Unfortunately, their Hinatuan Doppler Radar is currently under maintenance servicing thus it cannot provide rain intensity images but weather stations scattered all over Mindanao could compensate such setback.
|Track of Sendong on December 15 - 19, 2011|
|Forecast track of Typhoon Pablo|
We already accepted the fact that it will hit us; it is just a matter of how hard it will hit us. We are not afraid of the strong winds but of the rain the typhoon will bring. Cagayan de Oro and Iponan rivers are still clogged up by siltation caused by illegal mining. We are used to typhoon in Surigao del Sur. It is a regular thing for us, and accepted as an act of nature. What scare us are the flash floods. It is a consequence from the acts of man driven by greed, stupidity and foolishness.