While Googling and locating Provident Village in maps, Sillona realized that the subdivision lies right smack in the middle of something like a horseshoe – the inverted S — “the horseshoe being Marikina River itself. Thus, the village will obviously get flooded should the river overflow.”
Yet, at least for their village and as far as he knows, Sillona could not recall hearing of any precautionary measures, alarm system, boats or rubber boats, life vests, diving gear or anything that would have come in handy in times of a deluge.
“Twenty one years after the last worse flood, it is sad that there are still no other safety measures for such disasters,” Sillona told Bulatlat.
After the residents were rescued off rooftops by a combination of private sector volunteers, local government and people from National Disaster Coordination Council, they took shelter in various evacuation sites (such as a gym in Barangka) or with relatives. Some returned to their homes as soon as the water started receding.
The flood left behind a still increasing body count and very thick mud not only in Provident Village but in other towns of Marikina. In nearby Pasig and Cainta, some villages are still submerged, but they are just starting to receive attention only three days later “because we have fewer deaths,” a man bitterly said on TV.
In Midtown, a village in San Roque, Marikina, near Marcos Highway, residents also suffered. “We usually got only ankle-deep water in previous floodings,” Analene Atillo, 25, told Bulatlat.
Atillo noted that the floodwaters last week rose high so soon. By 9 pm on Saturday, their neighbors had climbed to the roof of their bungalow. Later the neighbors took shelter in Atillo’s house, which has a second floor. She reckoned the flood had reached a maximum of seven to eight feet or more, because only the roof of their van, which had been parked at their elevated garage, still showed during the worst of the flooding. “It was deeper in some parts of our village,” Atillo said.
Despite the frequent flooding in their area, Atillo said they never expected a flood this bad. She explained that since the Fernandos (Bayani Fernando, now MMDA chairman, and his wife, Marides, now the mayor) “took over” in Marikina, most residents would swear there had been a big improvement in their drainage system, sidewalks and streets.
“Before, we as kids could swim in the water when Marikina got flooded. During Bayani Fernando’s time, flood was brought down to just ankle-deep. That’s why we did not expect this,” said Atillo.
Like Sillona, Atillo was unaware of preparations, if there were any, for disasters like this in their town. But the two are one in wishing that they could somehow get help from their government in cleaning up the thick mud left behind by the flood.
“If only out of health concerns, this thick mud should be cleaned right away off our streets,” said Atillo. At the rate they were going with the clean up, it could take a month, she said.
Sillona wanted to cut the government “some slack, because they must have been inundated by the severity of the crisis.” But he has this “wishful thinking” that the government, particularly its firefighting department, would help them clean up the mud as soon as possible.