Tropical Storm Trami brings new wave of floods to Metro Manila

Publié: 20 août 2013 10:33 CET

By Afrhill Rances in Manila, IFRC

Monsoon rains fuelled by Tropical Storm Trami (local name: Maring) have prompted a massive rescue and relief response by the Philippine Red Cross as floods swamp the capital, Metro Manila, and several provinces on the island of Luzon, affecting more than half a million people. So far seven people – including four children – have died, 11 have been injured and four people remain missing.  

The torrential rains and floods come a week after Typhoon Utor slammed into Luzon, and a year after monsoon rains, known locally as Habagat marooned much of Manila and nearby provinces, displacing half a million people and prompting a major Red Cross intervention.

Since Monday morning, Philippine Red Cross emergency responders in elevated trucks, ambulances, an amphibious vehicle and boats have so far rescued over 150 people who were stranded by floodwater.  

“We have deployed 14 search and rescue teams, which will continue with operations in assigned areas until all trapped people are out of harms way,” says Gwendolyn Pang, Secretary General of Philippine Red Cross. “Yesterday, our team in Cavite rescued a mother and her newborn baby and took them to hospital.”

To ensure that more people in flood-prone areas stay safe, the organization is using multiple channels to encourage families in low-lying areas and along major rivers and dam spillways to evacuate immediately. Early warnings, updates of search and rescue operations, and information on evacuation centres have been sent out through Twitter and Facebook, disaster response teams send text messages to residents whose mobile phone numbers are on record, and emergency response team members are using megaphones in affected communities to reach those not directly connected to the organization.

“Our volunteers on the ground are also undertaking door-to-door visits to households at risk and advising them to leave immediately because we want every life saved,” Pang says.

In addition to rescue and evacuation support, the Red Cross is providing immediate relief to families in evacuation centres. So far, some 1,500 affected individuals have been provided with ready-to-eat, hot meals.

With rain set to continue over coming days, the Red Cross is preparing to scale up its response. Major dams have reached critical levels and flooding is expected downstream once the dams open their gates. In Laguna de Bay, the water level has risen dramatically, threatening thousands of families.

The Philippine Red Cross operations centre continues to monitor the situation 24/7 and is relaying information to response teams on the ground.

“We are fully prepared for a significant intervention as we have sleeping mats, blankets, jerry cans, mosquito nets and hygienic kits – sufficient to meet the needs of more than 20,000 families – as part of our contingency stocks that we maintain in Manila,” Pang says.