Get ready for floods in Metro Manila

Published June 23, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

E CARTOON JUNE 24, 2020In all previous years, at  this  time of the year – the month of June —  our attention  would turn to the problems of the rainy season.  Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, national attention is so focused on  the continuing infections and deaths  along with the quarantine restrictions that  other issues and problems may not be getting their due attention.

We, therefore, welcome reports  that  Quezon City  has now  released  guidelines  for the floods expected this rainy season,  but with an angle connecting this annual problem of flooding to the new problem  of  the coronavirus.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte released Friday guidelines prepared  by   the city government to boost  its preparedness for the  expected rains and floods.  The city’s risk reduction and management office was directed to list all its flood-prone areas and  identify all evacuation locations, usually schools and  covered basketball  courts. The Tatalon area in  QC has been known to be among  the first areas to get flooded  at the start of the rainy season.

But in the whole of Metro Manila,  the highest risks of flooding are said to be in parts of Manila,  Caloocan,  Malabon,  Marikina,  Navotas, Pasay, and  Pasig.  Here the floods  are  due  not only to heavy rains and low terrain, but also to urban sprawl and population growth.

The guidelines issued  by Mayor Belmonte last week  included  precautions and  other moves that  need to  be  taken  this year because of the ongoing pandemic.  Thus she called for an updated  list of  suspected and confirmed  COVID-19  cases to ensure that  they  are  transported and sheltered separately in case of evacuations.  Proper  physical  distancing must be maintained in the evacuation centers.  All city personnel  responding to calls for evacuation must  have the proper personal protective equipment.

All local governments in Metro Manila and in the rest of the country  should  now be  reviewing their own plans and programs for the rainy season  and incorporate  measures to guard against the new danger posed b y  COVID-19.

The rainy season is upon  us with all its expected dangers but  all preparations must now include measures  to protect everyone against  the  coronavirus  which  is likely to continue threatening us and the rest  of the world  for many more months,  perhaps even  years.