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HEAVY RAINFALL CAUSES WIDESPREAD FLOODING IN PHILIPPINES

Region of Concern: Philippines

Written By Mridul Mahendroo; Edited by Claire Bracco

Date: December 26, 2022


Philippines Map[1]


Event: On December 26, the Philippines reported the death of 8 individuals due to flooding. Intense two-day rainfall led to high levels of flooding causing the drowning of several people. The populations of the central and southern areas of the country were the most affected as thousands of civilians had to be evacuated. As a result, approximately 46,000 people have been placed in evacuation shelters and 19 have been declared missing. The displaced population is currently demanding more food as houses and personal belongings were destroyed by the flooding.[2]


Significance: Heavy rainfall is very likely to create material damage to critical infrastructure, shops, and cars in urban environments as the discharge of waste into the water is likely to slow the drainage system and make the evacuation of rainwater difficult. It is likely that large cities such as Davao, Cebu, and Kagayan de Oro will face traffic disruptions as commuters are likely to be stranded and travelers on vacation will also likely face bus, flight, or train cancellations. The impact of the floods on traffic is likely to slow down emergency management services. Power outages are very likely to take place, impacting civilians’ ability in contacting rescue services and in staying updated on the development of the situation. Poor populations are likely to lose most of their material possessions due to the vulnerable location of slums and their lack of insurance. In the aftermath of the flooding, the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue is likely to thrive in slums and poor areas due to high levels of pollution and low hygiene standards. Looting of abandoned houses and personal belongings is also likely to take place after the flooding.


Recommendations: In cities, local police forces should create and regulate alternate routes for commuting to avoid flooding-prone areas. Local municipalities should use communication channels such as television, radio, and SMS to provide recommendations on protocols and practices to implement concerning the preservation of phone batteries, precautions to go out, and the use of electricity in flooded houses. In the case of a widespread failure in communication infrastructures, individuals should be advised to be cautious and follow updates given by emergency management officials and law enforcement officers who should provide aid and ensure people directly obtain the required information. Emergency relief NGOs should financially aid affected populations through the collection of donations or crowdfunding to help poor individuals resettle and provide food and clothing to individuals in evacuation shelters. In the aftermath of the monsoon, individuals should be encouraged to be tested for water-borne diseases and medical teams sent by the local municipalities should regularly operate in slums to test people and assess the situation. Police forces need to plan the aftermath of the flash floods to prevent looting of personal property by keeping a lookout for suspicious activity in the vicinity of apartments and houses. Debris should be cleared as soon as possible as it could slow down mobility for disaster relief and the repairs of critical infrastructure.

 

[1] Map of Philippines by tuxwrench licensed under Creative Commons Zero 1.0 Public Domain License

[2] Philippines reports at least eight deaths as rains, floods disrupt Christmas celebrations, Reuters, December 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/philippines-reports-least-eight-deaths-rains-floods-disrupt-christmas-2022-12-26/

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