2009 Flash flood: Philippines

Tropical Storm Ondoy

 Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) produced record rainfall and floods in September 2009. At the height of the storm, a state of calamity was declared in Metro Manila and in 25 different provinces, including Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Rizal, Quezon, Isabela, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Benguet, La Union, Ilocos Sur,Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Marinduque, Camarines Norte, and Bataan.

At least 609,548 people were displaced by flood waters and had to stay in makeshift evacuation centers in schools and churches. 240 people, mostly from the National Capital Region, were killed. 319,881 families or 1,872,036 people were affected by the storm. In addition, damages to infrastructures and agriculture in Luzon amounted to more than P2 billion.


Ondoy was first spotted 130 kilometers (km) east southeast of Baler, Aurora or 90 km northeast of Infanta, Quezon. It moved northwest, bringing severe rainfall across Southern Luzon and Central Luzon as it made its way towards the South China Sea.

 The tropical storm made landfall in the morning of September 26, 2009, lasting through the night until September 27. In the 12 hours of continuous rainfall, flood waters rose up to waist level or higher in many different areas throughout Luzon, especially within the Metro. Entire streets and villages in Bataan, Bulacan, Makati, Malabon, Manila, Paranaque, Pasay, Quezon City, Antipolo, Cainta, Montalban, San Juan,San Mateo, Taguig and Valenzuela were completely submerged.

 Rizal and Marikina were particularly affected, with the sides of buildings left caked by the mud which mixed with the flood.


The rising water level rendered roadways around Metro Manila impassible. Traffic jammed up main thoroughfares like EDSA, the North and South Luzon expressways, MacArthur Highway, Quezon Avenue, España, Araneta Avenue, Aurora Boulevard and Taft Avenue.

 Residential areas were also fraught with flood. Numerous reports came in of people being forced to climb to their roofs for safety. In some areas, houses had to be abandoned altogether for fear of the rising water level. Numerous fatalities occurred due to drowning, landslides and the sudden collapse of structures which were weakened by the storm. Some people were also swept away by the current of floodwater that had welled up from rivers to the streets.

 According to PAGASA, 455 millimeters of rainfall poured down on Luzon, making the floods that arose the worst recorded in the history of the weather bureau.  The previous record for a single day’s worth of rainfall in Metro Manila was in 1967, at 331 millimeters. The amount of rainfall brought by Ondoy also beat the monthly average of rainfall for the month of September, which is at 391 millimeters.

 Search and rescue
As news came in of people stranded by the flood and the water level rising to the point of entering people’s homes, various groups immediately conducted search and rescue operations.

 The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC’s) Water Search and Rescue teams and units from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) were dispatched to different areas within Metro Manila as well as in Cainta and Rizal. They brought rubber rafts and an aluminum boat to reach people who had been forced to their rooftops. Teams from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Green Peace and the US Marines also joined the rescue efforts.

 Groups were also sent by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) kept on top of things, providing updated statistics about what was happening.

In a surprising move, the Communist Party of the Philippines also offered aid to the victims of Ondoy in Central Luzon, with instructions to their military unit, the New People’s Army, to suspend armed offensives and to help in relief and rebuilding.

Local celebrities were also featured in the news for participating in the rescue efforts. Richard Gutierrez, in a speedboat, went to the rescue of fellow actor Cristine Reyes, who had also been forced to her rooftop due to the heavy rains. Celebrity couple Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo also came to the aid of their friends Gladys Reyes and Christopher Roxas who were stranded in Pasig City.

Welfare workers continue searching for the whereabouts of orphans who may have sought refuge in different shelters set up in Metro Manila.

Volunteers and donations
In the aftermath of Ondoy, many were left without food or shelter, some even losing their houses and belongings to the flood. Numerous evacuation centers were set up to house the thousands of families displaced by the storm in Metro Manila, Marikina City, Pasig City, Makati City, Rizal province, Baras municipality, Tanay, Taguig City, Muntinlupa City and Antipolo city were set up. Makeshift evacuation centers were made out of public schools and churches.

Relief workers and volunteers from many different groups facilitated the soliciting of cash and in-kind donations, packing of relief goods, and distribution of these to affected areas.

Among these were the PNRC, which accepted through SMS and GCASH, as well as bank deposits.  It was joined by relief efforts organized by media groups, companies and schools. Among these were GMA News, who provided disaster emergency hotlines and kept these open throughout the week and ABS-CBN’s Sagip Kapamilya, which opened its doors to donations. Other centers were run by Ateneo de Manila University, Citizens Disaster Response Center, Radio Veritas, Our Lady of Pentecost Parish, and Victory Fellowship in Fort Bonifacio.

Some groups donated wholesale, such as Gardenia Bakeries which donated 1,500 loaves of bread to flood victims. Barbaras Catering gave 1,000 packs of cooked pancit, while the National Food Authority volunteered 1,000 sacks of rice.  The Davao City council also approved giving P10 million in aid to the victims of Ondoy to be taken from the city’s calamity fund and handed over to the PNRC.

International attention
Ondoy and its aftermath caught the attention of Hollywood stars, who spread word of the calamity in the Philippines via Twitter, channeling donations to those caught in the calamity. Among these were actors Demi Moore, writer Paulo Coelho, music artists Josh Groban, Michelle Branch and Demi Lovato.

The United States embassy donated $50,000 for the relief efforts. The government of China also offered $10,000. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) donated P8,000,000. According to Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., the NDCC received more than P40 million in donations.

Tribute to the victims of Typhoon Ondoy (Philippines.Sept 26,2009)
http://www.youtube.com by: mcfly1151985

REFERENCE: http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Tropical_Storm_Ondoy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s