Cagayan de Oro Flooding: When Will It End?

It was like Sendong in many ways … Dark clouds, cold wind, continuous heavy rain for more than 3 hours. The floodwater silently rose and slowly covered all low lying areas. First reported “unpassable” roads were those in the Limketkai area. Then we learned about the fast, turbulent floodwater in Nazareth, along 25th and 26th Streets, not surprisingly coming down from the hills surrounding Macasandig and Nazareth. My hubby hurried home after fetching our niece and nephew from their school because he knew trouble was brewing. Indeed they arrived home just in time. Not long after, we learned that cars were stranded along 26th street and there was minimal movement for at least 3 to 4 hours.

Our daughter arrived home three hours after she left her office, a route usually taking only less than 10 minutes. Around 6 pm we got a call from a relative living in Pinikitan, near Maria Reyna Hospital, telling us that they left their home because water level has reached 5 feet in depth. They were kindly accommodated by the owners of a neighboring 3-storey building, and they spent the night there, on the balcony of the said building, looking down on their home deeply submerged in water.
Electricity was temporarily cut off to keep everyone safe, so it was dark except in establishments with generators. There was also no water.

I couldn’t sleep worrying over a daughter who was stranded in Limketkai. She wasn’t able to leave her place of work because of the flood. Past midnight I got a text from her telling me they were given a place to sleep; that was all I needed to hear. I felt right there and then it was okay for me to sleep as well. And sleep finally came.

It was like Sendong in some ways, yes, but it wasn’t like Sendong 100%! Why? Because the floodwater did not come from the Cagayan de Oro River! 3 hours of continuous heavy rain poured so much rainwater over the city and the floodwater rose, slowly at first, then inch by inch until it reached a very dangerous level BECAUSE IT HAD NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!

What caused it? I believe (and others may disagree) … it is our city’s clogged drainage system.

So what then? And who are we to blame? Do we blame the City Government?

How about those of us who still insist on living above the drainage canals or beside creeks and rivers despite knowing the risks and dangers that awaits when typhoons come? I see many homes built over these canals and some of them even have Sari-Sari Stores and rooms for rent!

How about those of us who continues to throw our trash just about anywhere that’s convenient to us? I still see people driving nice cars throwing away trash out their windows! I still see people throwing used baby diapers in open canals and on drainage opening in the sidewalks! I see market vendors throwing vegetable peelings on the sidewalks and open canals; street food vendors throwing egg shells, used cooking oil, barbecue sticks, banana peelings, and many more again in open canals and on the sidewalk where they sell their goods! I still see commuters throwing away fruit peelings while the jeepneys they’re riding on stop in traffic light intersections! I still see men and women throw away their cigarette butts out their car windows or in the sidewalk. And just this morning, to my disappointment, I saw a woman in Cogon Market throw her disposable cup on the street after consuming her coffee like its the most natural thing to do on this earth!

When will we learn? When are we going to personally (first) and then collectively (second) take responsibility and accountability over things that we should be responsible for and accountable of?

Just my two cents …
(Photo Credit: Sir Noel Sadava)

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