the philippines is in a state of calamity..and you can help || vancouver photographer

as many of you know, we lived in the philippines for almost 6 years.
both of our children were born there.
some of our dearest friends are there.
jonathan's parents and oldest sister & her family still live there.
the philippines will always be a place close to our hearts.

and these floods we have heard about on the news channels has
been said that it is equivlant to the US's Katrina.

here are some photos and a video to bring you up to speed before i

most concise story to sum up the devastation i found this morning:


(CNN) -- Downpours subsided temporarily in the Philippines on Sunday, a day after Tropical Storm Ketsana pummeled the capital Manila with its heaviest rainfall in more than 40 years.

Flood spawned by the rainfall killed at least 75 people with at least 21 others missing, the government said.

More than 80 percent of the capital was under water that swallowed whole houses and buses.

Manila, in the island of Luzon, and the nearby province of Rizal bore the brunt of the storm. People huddled on rooftops Sunday waiting on army helicopters to pluck them to safety. Others used ropes to wade through waist-deep muddy waters.

Power and water supply failed in some areas. Roads were rendered impassable, making rescue efforts challenging. Are you there? Share your story or pictures

"Right now the challenge is to find out how many people have actually died and how many people we have to take care of in terms of people who've been displaced," said Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Philippines National Red Cross.

"We're really talking about maybe hundreds of thousands of people," with about 280,000 to 300,000 displaced in the island of Luzon alone, he said.

Though the Philippines is no stranger to floods, Saturday's downpours approached a record, with a month's worth of rain falling within six hours.

The average rainfall for the entire month of September is 391 mm (15.4 inches), said Gilberto Teodoro, secretary of national defense and chairman of the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

The capital experienced 341 mm (13.4 inches) between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., he said.

Officials worried that if the rains return, they could bring more floods if reservoirs burst.

"We're hoping that there will be no more breaching of the dams," Gordon said. "That's one of the things that are very disconcerting to many people right now."

Mike Anthony Catuira spent Sunday retrieving valuable belongings and seeking cover on higher ground. Overflowing rivers in the municipality of Tanay in Rizal province had inundated shops and homes, he said.

"The storm's local name 'Ondoy' is really a powerful storm, and this is the most severe storm in my whole life," he said in a report to iReport, the CNN Web site that allows people to submit pictures and videos.

the photos i found on the web are disturbing.. my sisterinlaw and her husband have a non-profit organization, GENTLE HANDS, in the philippines where many of their "own" and their employees are devastated from the floods.

charity ( my sisterinlaw) wrote this about the floods yesterday:

September 27, 2009 - FLOOD

We went to Malabon despite the rain and the fact we suspected some flooding in the streets. There is flooding every week so we weren’t too worried. The rain didn’t stop and by the time we were done checking on our patients and handing out meds and feeding children, we were drenched. Soaked. (Don’t ask me why we NEVER have any umbrellas.)That didn’t bother us much. The flat tire that had to be changed was nothing. We have learned to be flexible with all things. HaHaHa.

On the way home we were shocked to see the water so high and flowing so far. Knee deep in some places we laughed and sang and didn’t think much. When we got to the main road, we knew we were in trouble. Traffic was crawling. The streets were totally flooded. A trip that normally takes 45 minutes, took 2 and ½ hours. Suddenly the streets became a parking lot. Through texting and calling, we found out that the Metro Manila Development Authority told everyone to abandon their vehicles and get on the LRT to get home as soon as they could. So EDSA was full of abandoned vehicles.

I was getting texts already from one of my staff, M’lou. Their whole first floor was underwater, just a block from GH. I called Evan. M’lou had 3 kids with her and the street was a raging river. Evan had gone to look and there was no way to get them out.
Meanwhile, some of the boys were really sick of being in the van and decided to walk home. I thought they were crazy. I had Kuya Al, a tuberculosis patient who was not doing very well, and little Patrick, too little to walk in the rain and in that distance. In groups of 4 and 5 they slowly piled out and began the trek home. Little did we know…

Minet, my social worker texted. “Our house is flooding. The streets are knee deep already. There is no way to get out. Ate, help.”

As we sat in the van, not moving, the texts came from the boys with panic. “The water is up to our waist. To our neck now. We’re scared. The roads are all flooded. There is no way to get home.”

Soon, we knew there was no choice. After 2 more hours of sitting, we needed to find a way to get out. The rain was pounding. It was cold, hard, relentless rain. We wrapped our cellphones in plastic, locked up the our van and off we went. Aries, in his muscle shirt and army pants, Ryan with my expensive guitar, I holding little Patrick’s hand, 6 ft tall Mark Anthony, who would prove to save me from the rapid waters, little Vincent, and Joed and poor sick skinny weak Kuya Al.

Teeth chattering, and shaking limbs, we were shellshocked as the rain pelted us. It was only after about 5 minutes that I realized just how far we would have to walk.

Hours of passing through knee deep, then chest deep, then finally neck deep water.

The current had swept one woman away. They had put her body in a sack.

Mark carried Patrick on his shoulders. There were soldiers and barangay officials all along a long thick rope tied through the flood waters so people could pass. Cars were underwater. Just the tips of the roof peeking out. It was cold. We almost lost Al twice. He was white as a sheet. I screamed over and over for them to hang on to him. He was sick and weak. The men grabbed him on both sides. Vincent went under. Aries grabbed him by his shorts. Mark held my arm like a vice grip. For over a kilometre it went… on and on and on… by the end, I didn’t think I could go any more. “Mark, I’m tired”, I sighed. My legs were shaking. There, just one more block, I could see we would be through the water. We reached the end and Al collapsed on the ground. I wrapped my arms around him. He wasn’t breathing. Oh Jesus. “Al, you can make it. We’re almost there. Almost. Please.” Mark Anthony picked him up and put him on his back. I could have cried.

Patrick gripped my hand and we picked up the pace. Almost home. Almost. The rain just wouldn’t let up. We weaved through stopped traffic. There. Our street. There. Our home. I sprinted the last half block. I needed to get into the ICU. Al was in hypothermic shock. I yelled for Ezekiel and Evan. Mark Anthony put him in a chair and he fell on the floor moaning. I threw blankets over him and yelled for someone with dry clothes to hug him. The boys had only just arrived too… in motley groups. Wet and traumatized, all.

Evan had been holding the fort, with our own children and Edu, and had been out every 30 minutes to check the raging flood by M’lou’s house, and was quick to send one of the boys to buy some brandy (a very old remedy for hypothermia). It did the trick. Al perked right up and given the circumstances, I’m sure God understood.

Slowly, we changed, showered, and sat down to our waiting lunch of freshly fried fish and rice which was now our supper. Believe it or not, wonderful comfort food.

The rain still didn’t stop. Winner still couldn’t get home. We still hadn’t heard from Minet.

At 630pm, the river had gone down several feet and Evan and Aries went to rescue Mlou and Jenny’s kids. At least they were now safe.

Our cook lost her entire home. All of Jenny’s possessions were destroyed. Our boys house was flooded and all their beds, and things were destroyed. Our guards house was washed away. Other staff didn’t show up for work. So many questions. Thankfully, the boys stepped into action. Nursery duty, toddler duty, kitchen cleaning. We will just have to wait to hear from the others.

the philippines needs your help. ANY amount of help.

please think about how much you can contribute today to help rebuild lives.
every dollar helps.

for secure, online donation, see my sisterinlaw's website where you can make
a contribution today.

be blessed today, friends.. xoxo


Anonymous said...

I'm from the Philippines. This is a higher hurricane category than Katrina. We had 2.4 inches of rain per hour for six hours straight. Katrina had 1+ inches of rain per hour for three hours. Thank you for getting the word out. My husband and I are olunteering

realtor in Toronto said...

This was a very moving description of what is going on in the Philippines' flood calamity. I'm very sorry for all the losses you suffered from and hope, soon the situation will improve and your lives will re-establish. Julie

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