Sunday, September 27, 2009

Devastation of Manila floods

Last night my partner tells me there's a flood in the Philippines. I often don't keep up with the news and can count on my partner to keep me abreast. She asks me "where does your mom live?" as she's reading news online and looking at photos.... I see "Manila" then "Quezon City". That's where my mom lives. My heart pauses for a moment. Yet I return to my frenzy of getting ready for a business trip. My partner tells me to call my mom. I look at my watch -- it's too early to call her on a Sunday morning (they are 14 hours ahead). I'll call in an hour. Part of me wanting to not believe that the flood could be affecting my mom and my relatives.

In an hour I call. The phone rings and rings and rings. I hang up and try again. I must've dialed the wrong number. Still no answer. I try one
more time. Still no answer.

I email my brother and sister to see if they have gotten a hold of her. No luck. I wake up this morning to images posted on facebook by my cousin in California and a status update that she was able to get a hold of our one cousin on her cell phone: For now my mom is okay. My cousin went to check on her -- I can't even imagine what it took for Edith to get to St. Ignatius Village where my mom lives. My aunt (who is in her 80s) had been missing since Friday. The latest is she has found at the school where she teaches -- she and others have been stranded there for 3 days. Water is up to their shoulders. I pray they have been rescued and are okay.

CNN reports that at least 51 have been killed with at least 21 missing. I have no doubt that number is extremely low and the number will continue to rise.

The photos I have posted here were taken by Savann Oeurm on facebook (thanks to my cousin Didet for sharing). There are images of rescues by the Philippine Red Cross, of children on their parents shoulders walking through waist high brown water, of a man carrying three small white dogs, of dead bodies on a wood plank with only their feet exposed - their body covered by a tarp, of the lifeless body of a grey Benji-like dog - eyes still open.

Please send your prayers and good thoughts to the people and animals of the Philippines ...

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