Residents commute along a flooded stretch of road in Calumpit town, north of Manila, 10 August 2012. Thousands more flood victims crammed into evacuation centres on Friday as waist-high water covered vast farming regions and the death toll rose to 60. AFP

By Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent
11 August 2012

Manila (Gulf News) – Filipinos should learn to accept that typhoons and other weather disturbances would increase in intensity as a result of effects of climate change, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said.

“Filipinos must learn to accept the growing intensity of typhoons as the new ‘normal’” the environment top official said in the aftermath of heavy rains that left large areas of the national capital region and surrounding provinces under several feet of water.

Aside from the increasing intensity of monsoon rains, Filipinos should also be prepared for another extreme weather event — the long dry season.

“There is nothing we can do but to adapt to climate change and the only way we can be prepared for the impact of climate change is to accept that these recent developments in our country like intense weather disturbances, heavy rainfall, as well as long dry season are now the “new-normal,” Paje said in an interview aired over government station PTV Channel 4.

According to Paje, the Philippines had been identified to be highly vulnerable to the impacts of changing weather patterns as a result of the so-called “Climate Change.” For this, he said, the government has been working on long-term solutions to minimise damage on people and government infrastructures.

“If you allow rain water to go down the watersheds it would result in flooding. But if you can impound them, the water becomes a precious resource that you can use during the dry season,” he stressed. […]

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that as of Saturday, August 11, 66 people were confirmed dead from the monsoon flood tragedy in Metro Manila and Northern Luzon.

“Eleven of the 66 recorded fatalities were victims of a landslide, forty seven died due to drowning, four due to electrocution, two due to heart attack / cardiac arrest and one died after a tree fell on him,” NDRRMC Director Benito Ramos said.

Nearly two weeks of incessant rains had left massive flooding in Metro Manila and Northern and Central Luzon as dams and waterways were unable to contain the huge amount of precipitation.

Filipinos should get used to weather disturbances, official says


A man gives food to people staying in flooded homes in Quezon City, north of Manila, Philippines, on 7 August 2012. Emergency crews were scrambling to evacuate tens of thousands of residents. Associated PressMANILA, Philippines, 7 August 2012 (AP) – Relentless rains submerged half of the sprawling Philippine capital, triggered a landslide that killed nine people and sent emergency crews scrambling Tuesday to rescue tens of thousands of residents who called media outlets pleading for help.

The deluge, the worst since 2009 when hundreds died in flash floods, was set off by the seasonal monsoon that overflowed major dams and rivers in Manila and surrounding provinces.

The capital and other parts of the country already were saturated from last week's Typhoon Saola, which battered Manila and the north for several days before blowing away Friday. That storm was responsible for 53 deaths.

"It's like a water world," said Benito Ramos, head of the government's disaster response agency. He said the rains flooded 50 percent of metropolitan Manila on Monday evening, and about 30 percent remained under waist- or neck-deep waters Tuesday.

He urged residents in areas prone to landslides and floods to stay in evacuation centers. Because the soil is saturated, even a little rain could be dangerous, he added. […]

Relentless rains trigger deadly landslide, submerge half of Philippines capital


MANILA, Philippines, 7 August 2012  (PhilStar) – The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recorded the heaviest volume of rain between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in Metro Manila since Sunday night.

In its rainfall bulletin, PAGASA said that it recorded 30 millimeter to 40 millimeter per hour of rainfall in Quezon City, Camanava, Manila and Marikina between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

The torrential rains experienced since 6:30 p.m. raised the level of floods in several areas in Metro Manila, particularly in the areas mentioned in the latest "red warning signal."

The amount of rainfall was the heaviest since PAGASA started monitoring rains brought on by the enhanced southwest monsoon over the weekend. It was also the closest to the record rainfall of Typhoon "Ondoy" in 2009, which was 56 millimeter per hour.

Reports said that the volume of rain recorded since Sunday has surpassed Ondoy's rainfall of 392 millimeters. Ondoy, however, dumped the amount of rainfall into Metro Manila in just six hours.

Meanwhile, PAGASA said that heavy to intense rains will be experienced over Metro Manila for the next three hours or until past midnight.

"Due to the effect of the series of thunderstorms embedded in the Southwest Monsoon flow, expect Heavy to Intense (10-25.0mm/hr) rains with occasional to frequent Torrential (more than 30.0mm/hr) rains within 3 hrs.," PAGASA said.

Local government units in Metro Manila have suspended classes in all levels on Wednesday.

PAGASA records heaviest rainfall; more rain till midnight


Children cross floodwaters at a submerged main street in Calumpit town, Bulacan province, north of Manila, 9 August 2012. Romeo Ranoco / Reuters

By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Nick Macfie
9 August 2012

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines began a massive clean-up on Thursday after floods swept the capital and nearby provinces, forcing residents to wade through shoulder-deep waters in some places after nearly two weeks of monsoon rains killed 91 people.

Power, water and communications services were restored as floodwaters started to recede, allowing many to return home to fix their houses. Nearly 300,000 people remained in temporary shelters, disaster officials said.

"It's getting better in the capital region," Susana Cruz, regional head of the civil defence office, told reporters. "We're still distributing food and potable water to the affected communities, but we're also helping local government units in their clean-up efforts."

Schools remained shut for the third day to house displaced families. Public and private offices reopened.

The monsoon rains, which dumped about 300 mm (12 inches), or three times the daily average, from late Monday to Tuesday, were the heaviest in three years, the weather bureau said, as a typhoon lashed east China where hundreds of thousands of people had been evacuated in advance.

The bureau has lifted rainfall alerts, forecasting light to intermittent showers for the next 12-24 hours. By mid-day, the sun was up for the first time in weeks.

President Benigno Aquino toured temporary shelter areas and helped distribute rations. He said shanty towns along river banks and coastal areas would be dismantled and relocated to safer ground.

Outside Manila, home to 12 million people, many of them living in slum conditions, wide areas of the rice-producing plains of the northern Luzon island remained under waist-to-neck-deep water, forcing residents to move around in canoes and on makeshift rafts.

Enterprising villagers were building small boats to make a living. "We'll have nothing to eat if I don't work," Eduardo Ortega said, as he transported people across flooded areas.

"We have run out of money, we have run out of food. We haven't received any relief goods."

Six provinces near Manila were placed under a state of calamity, including the key rice-growing provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, and Pampanga.

The farm department estimates the damage so far to crops, mainly rice, at 167.9 million pesos (2.57 million pounds).

Philippines begins clean-up after monsoon rains kill scores

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