On June 21, 2008 the province of Iloilo suffered the worst flood damage in its history.
The traumatic experiences of young and old, rich and poor began when the afternoon flashfloods submerged their houses with all their belongings in a matter of three minutes.
As mentioned in my annual report, the feeding center of Barangay Cuartero Hi-Way in Jaro was one of those places badly damaged.
I was able to interview a mother whose house was submerged by the roof-top level water. She narrated how she and her family and neigbours scampered to a nearby half-finished-two-storey house and took shelter there.
Her stories were similar to those my very own folks and friends had shared with me. Everything (from memorabilia to household belongings) were washed away by very, very strong currents.
They saw how family "treasures" were being tossed, churned and swallowed by the angry, rising waters. It was a very distressing sight!
My own relatives clambered onto their roof and stayed there for hours wrapped in big towels. Then they swam to the neighbour’s house that has a 2nd floor, almost losing my elderly brother to the flood waters.
Apparently, they were not the only ones who took shelter there. In moments like this, one is truly grateful to have loving and caring neighbours.
According to some eyewitnesses, the floodwaters in Jaro were between six feet to twelve feet high. Typhoon Frank was indeed the deadliest one the Ilonggos (old and young generations alike) had ever witnessed or experienced.
Because of this enormous natural catastrophe, I was busy soliciting relief goods (cash, used clothing and medicines) for my relatives, friends and other needy flood victims.
Again, I am truly grateful to be blessed with a wide circle of generous friends and work colleagues who donated their precious time (soliciting among their own families and friends), money and boxes of used clothing.
$2,800 (USD) in cash donations was raised for flood victims and sent with 120kg of clothing and goods.
A donation of PHP 2,000.00 (about USD 42.50) was also made to St. Vincent’s Home for the Aged, Bacolod City.
It’s almost a year now since typhoon Frank swept across the province of Iloilo. No traces of the stubborn, "acidic" mud (it felt like it, according to my sister) that flooded into the victims’ houses can be seen now.
The damaged infrastructure is being repaired or replaced in different timescales. Life seems to be back to normal.
Perhaps, the only indelible scars left are deeply etched in the victims’ minds and the outside world.
I believe these painful memories will always be there to remind us to start taking care of our immediate surroundings, the neighbourhood and the big, wide world.
And that we should all be part of a global environmental movement dedicated to save the only planet we call "home."
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