Today, and also yesterday, a tropical depression is passing the Philippines, dropping lots of rain which are causing floods, unreachable areas and several casualties. The name of this storm is: “Juaning” (international codename Nock-Ten). It is the tenth ‘typhoon’ in the Philippine area of responsability of this year and it has a diameter of 500 km which covers a large part of the Philippines, especialy the island of Luzon and a large part of the Visayas.
Big parts of the Bicol region are flooded and more than 20 people have been killed or missing so far. It is expected that this number will rise as the typhoon will cross the mainland travelling from south east to north west. In the affected areas all schools were suspended because of the expected storm and heavy rains. Many people have been stranded in different places while travelling. They are not able to continue and have to wait where they are until the weather will be better. In a country that counts over 7000 islands, many people travel by boat, and most boats are not sailing because of the storm.
An other problem in the Bicol region now is the fact that there is no electricity anymore. This causes extra problems because people are not able to load the batteries of cell phones, so there is little or no communication. Many roads are not passable so several cities and villages are isolated from the rest of the world. In the mountainous region of the provinces in Albay flashfloods washed away houses, newly planted rice and other belongings.
The Philippine government has learned a lot from the disaster of the typhoon Ondoy which hit the Philippines in september 2009. They took special precautions to try to prepare as many people and to evacuate several areas. During Ondoy several water basins were releasing much water in the rivers which made a large area in and around Manila flooded for days. At the moment water levels are rising in those basins so probably they have to spill water again and who knows what will happen this time, and if they are able to control it.
July 26 this picture was taken in Naga City, the capital of Albay province in the Bicol region. As you can see the water more than 4 feet high. And yhis is not the only area in the region, there are many more like this.
At the moment I am writing this, it is not raining anymore where we live. So let’s hope the typhoon has passed Manila without much damage. But it is the northern part of Luzon where the typhoon is right now. Let’s hope this low pressure area passes without making much more damage or causing more casualties.