October 2009

October 15, Thursday
Before You Know It – 2 p.m.
Gas – 4:30 p.m.
The Viceroys – 7 p.m.
Smalltown, Italy – 9:30 p.m.

October 16, Friday
The Fever – 2 p.m.
Mater Natura – 4:30 p.m.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage – 7 p.m.
The Heretic – 9:30 p.m.

October 17, Saturday
One Out of Two – 2 p.m.
What I’m Doing Here – 4:30 p.m.
The True Legend of Tony Vilar – 7 p.m.
Gas – 9:30 p.m.

October 18, Sunday
Caravaggio – 2 p.m.
The True Legend of Tony Vilar – 4:30 p.m.
Mater Natura – 7 p.m.
The Destination – 9:30 p.m.

October 19, Monday
The Heretic – 2 p.m.
The Fever – 4:30 p.m.
One Out of Two – 7 p.m.
What I’m Doing Here – 9:30 p.m.

October 20, Tuesday
Smalltown, Italy – 2 p.m.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage – 4:30 p.m.
Caravaggio – 7 p.m.
Before You Know It – 9:30 p.m.

October 21, Wednesday
The Destination – 2 p.m.
The Fever – 4:30 p.m.
What I’m Doing Here – 7 p.m.
The Viceroys – 9:30 p.m.

I was drinking coffee with some friends (4 of us) at around 7 in the morning as the rain kept pouring. It continuously rained the whole evening, but, was becoming lighter in that morning of Saturday, September 26. As the horizon brightened, we saw the river suddenly becoming larger and in a few minutes, there was water in the covered court of Balubad. It came so fast and as I wanted to go to Bagong Sibol (about 30 meters away from our block – block 11) to inform the local organization members as well as KPML members of the situation.

I could no longer reach the place as the water has already reached Kabayan Road. I had to go back and inform my family. The water rose so fast in just about 5-10 minutes. When I reached the place where my motorbike was parked, water was already waist deep. Before I reached the house with my motorbike, the current became stronger and water was still rising. SO, I decided to let go with my motorcycle-or else I will die with it.

I had to swim fast and reached the rooftop of one of the houses in block 9. I felt so desperate, that I could no longer do anything but stay on the roof. I felt that the money I had to pay for my bike was all gone to waste.

I decided to go back to our house. I had to go through rooftops, just to reach the place. I found my family members in our neighbor’s house – at the third floor. I felt a bit relieved that they are still alive.

There were already 30 of us cramped in our neghbor’s house. We were a bit happy that we were alive. We had no food for 36 hours and I had crackers later. That was all as we couldn’t cook. There was no stove, no food to cook. My son had to use a small boat to buy some coffee and sugar. But, the price was beyond our reach as we also had no money with us.

All our belongings were damaged and gone. Our house had no walls, see-through and everything was all so muddy. We only had our clothes on. I had to borrow slippers and I had no underwear because it was all so wet.

In that 36 hours ordeal, we couldn’t rest nor sleep. We were worried. The children could not use the toilets as they were in the first floor of the neighbor’s house. I told the girl who kept on insisting to use the toilet, if you want to die get down to the first floor and use the toilet. I wanted to put some humor in this kind of situation. But, I also felt so helpless at that time and we prayed that these things will come to pass.

Now, some tears fall as I relate the story to my co-members at the KPML office. I realized that we really have to be prepared in any type of disaster.

*Danilo Afante is a member of the KPML National Executive Committee and Chairperson of its Marikina Chapter. He is a resident of Balubad, Marikina. KPML is Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralita ng Lungsod.

1. Before entering your home, be sure it is structurally sound.

* Make sure there are no live wires and electricity is cut off. Check for loose concrete on ceilings, plywood, or other fixtures that might collapse.

* Check with your power or water supplier first if electricity or water is safe to use in your area.

* Structural damage from storms and floods are not as bad as when earthquakes hit. However, in severe cases, there is a danger that soil underneath a house has softened from prolonged exposure to water that can result to erosion.

2. Check your utilities.

* Things that usually get damaged are electrical systems, plumbing, wooden or laminated boards, or cabinets. Some doors and walls can also collapse under intense water pressure.

* Inspect electrical outlets for damage, and call an electrician to check whether they are still safe to use.

* Mudflow could clog pipes, which can be remedied by power-hosing. Repiping jobs are called for when the mud hardens.

3. Clear and clean as much as you can.

* Make sure there are no objects lying around when you pump out water.

* Take out all the water inside the house using pails or water pumps. Prolonged water saturation can lead to many problems like carpet discoloration, warped wood, or even mosquito and pest infestations when water stagnates not only inside the home, but in surrounding areas.

* Flooded basements where generators are located are also at risk for oil spills. These can lead to foul-smelling odors that can be cleaned out by industrial chemicals.

* Clean up all the mud inside the house and do not allow mud to harden. If your floors are made of ceramic tiles, buy a bristle brush and remove water and mud.

* For houses with wooden flooring or carpets, professional help is needed, especially if these were submerged underwater.

* Sometimes, there is no water or power to facilitate cleaning or the use of electrical equipment like water pumps.

4. Assess the damage.

* Decide what to keep, what to repair, and what to throw away.

* Take note of your budget and prioritize which rooms or furniture you want to save. Take note that you can survive without a lot of things, so it might help to stick to the essentials. Sometimes it is cheaper to replace items than to repair them. It could also be cheaper in the long run to repair furniture en masse than if you do it piecemeal.

* If you need to seek a professional opinion on which possessions to save, be sure to get a second opinion from someone you trust.

* If something is swollen, such as laminated flooring, chances are they can’t be used again. Laminated wood is common in the Philippines because of an existing log-ban. These materials are spongy and get warped when they are saturated. Concrete houses, however, can withstand a lot of water pressure.

* Air-drying furniture is excellent but professional equipment can speed up the job. Carpets and upholstery are trickier to repair, but professional services can offer drying services.

5. Spot check.

* Address lingering problems like foul smell from festering fungi or bacteria, which usually form on moist surfaces. Grease, oil, and mud can also add to this problem.

* Consult with a serviceman which chemicals can best be used to address these problems.

6. Renovate when you need to.

* Consider constructing an attic or putting storage spaces on higher floors as pre-emptive measures.
* Renovate only after careful consideration or upon recommendation by a professional surveyor.
* Get a municipal permit for building renovations, only if the cost of renovation is more than P50,000.

Report based on ANC Shoptalk episode.