The Philippines is known as the cradled Pearl of the Orient; it is beautiful but at the same time quite fragile. Being located within the earth’s tropical zone, it is continually buffeted with intense monsoons carrying heavy rainfall. And thus, we end up having to deal with flooding on a regular basis. But that does not mean that no actions need to be taken. Natural disasters already kill an average of 1,063 a year; this can be lessened with the proper risk prevention and containment techniques.
As we’ve discussed in our last NSTP session, minimizing risk and vulnerability is the long term solution to ensuring minimum damage from flooding. The Philippines, being relatively exposed geographically, means that it’s more vulnerable. What we can do, in the context of flooding, is increase adaptive capacity to natural disasters, either by strengthening our infrastructure, ensuring that future buildings are resistant to floods, or developing structures that help alleviate flooding, like a more efficient sewerage system, for example. These are long term projects, but they are critical for minimizing the damage dealt by flash floods.
On a micro level, there are still actions that ordinary people can do to help alleviate water damage. Keep important items safe from rising water at all times. Keeping a backpack with essentials, clothing, and water, really is a must when living in a nature-ravaged country like the Philippines, and it helps when dealing with other natural disasters as well. Staying informed about the weather patterns, using resources like Project Noah, are helpful as well; information is a key ingredient to successful damage control. It’s also prudent to be knowledgeable about possible weather shelters or higher ground areas, as well as disaster hotlines, both nationally, as well as in your local district.
In the event that you actually find yourself caught in a flood, make sure that any electronics and gas are switched off. Avoid actually walking in flood water, especially if you have an open wound, as it may cause infection; be wary of open manholes, which are dangerous if you happen to fall into one.
All these are simple but useful ways for preventing and limiting damage caused by flooding in the Philippines.
Additional Sources: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/114720.aspx