My little brother, Jeffrey, who works in Manila, was among the thousands of people affected by the tropical storm “Ondoy” (international codename: Ketsana) that hit the Philippines this weekend. After my sister (in Illinois) and I heard about the worsening situation in Manila due to flooding caused by the torrential rains, we immediately contacted our brother, but to no avail. His phone, and all his friends’ phones, were unreachable. We posted messages on Facebook hoping other friends and relatives could somehow trace our brother’s whereabouts.
Last night, we finally got a note that my brother and some others were trapped in the second floor of a two-story house. Water on the first floor was about chest-high.

Electricity was cut off. No water running. No food supply. Appliances were submerged in the flood. My brother and his friends were waiting for rescuers to come. We relied so much for our friends in Manila to contact government agencies to send a quick rescue operation before the water would rise to the second floor. As of now, based from our contacts, the water is slowly subsiding and my brother is still in the second floor.

This latest flooding is the worst in Manila’s flooding history. The capital is not new to flooding occurences as it gets flooded every now and then when heavy rains from strong typhoons hit the city. “Ondoy” was underestimated. It brought a record of 455 millimeters of rain in 12 hours (that’s more than the 390-mm average rainfall for the whole month of September)!

As of the latest news, 95 people are dead, 29 are missing, and there are some 247,555 affected families. But these numbers are expected to increase in the coming hours. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), “Ondoy” is now leaving the country but there would still be occasional rains in the next 24 hours.

The typhoon victims need help! There are many links posted by concerned citizens on Facebook for those who would want to donate.

Watch this video of a woman (a teacher still in her uniform) who climbed on top of the vehicle, trying to save her life.

There are more videos posted on YouTube.

Assistance hotline numbers:
– NDCC, Camp Aguinaldo – 911-1873; 912-5668; 911-1406; 912-2665
– DSWD Disaster Relief Operations, Monitoring and Information Center 488-3199 (24 hours)
– Crisis Intervention Unit DSWD-NCR 734-8635
– Disaster Relief Operations, Monitoring and Information Center 931-8101 to 05, local 506, 951-7119
– Red Cross 143/911-1816
– MMDA 136/869-6000
– Coast Guard 527-6136
– M-Water 1627
– Maynilad 1626
– Meralco 16211