The Next Deadly Flood

When the next tropical storm hits Mindanao, it may be my hometown’s turn to count our dead. Nababaha.com, a flood mapping website maintained by the University of the Philippines’ National Institute of Geological Sciences, provides a flood hazard map of General Santos City. The map shows parts of Gensan that could be submerged in more than five feet of floodwaters should a downpour of Ondoy or Sendong proportions fall on the city.

Flood hazard map of Gensan from nababaha.com

Some of the identified high-risk places have already been flooded in the past during heavy rains. The city, however, has never been hit by a typhoon or at least, not in recent memory. It is surrounded by mountain ranges that shield it against tropical cyclones.

My hometown’s reputation for being typhoon-free has lulled us into the same kind of complacency that proved fatal for Cagayan De Oro and Iligan. These cities also rarely experience typhoons. They also have mountainous terrains that residents believed would protect them from powerful storms. And yet Sendong happened. Floods happened. Death happened.

Viewing flood indicators on a Google map is one thing. Seeing the actual places that could be ravaged by an impending disaster makes the fear all too real. Below are pictures I took of riverside communities in Gensan.

Purok Puting Bato, Barangay Calumpang

Houses along Makar Bridge

Mouth of an empty riverbed

Is this dike enough protection against floodwaters?

Trash under the bridge

Silway, Brgy. Dadiangas West

A calm Silway River on a rainless day

River flowing into the sea

Flimsy houses inches away from the water

Teenagers playing on the dry part of the riverbed

Trash near the river

Houses a few meters from the river

Silway Bridge: Can it stand the surge of a raging river?

I’m hoping against hope these would not turn out to be the ‘before’ photos in an aftermath of a tragedy.

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2 thoughts on “The Next Deadly Flood

  1. Michael Ang

    Hi Ms Kristine
    I would like to ask your permission to use your images above
    in my disaster risk management course in worldbank e-course.-mIke

    Reply

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