Typhoon Ondoy – A Lesson on Disaster Preparedness

UPDATES [29 Sept 2009, 10:58 AM]:

1.Yesterday afternoon, I received word that Feng and family are safe. I was told they were trapped on their second floor but managed to get on the roof, and rescued later on. Meanwhile, I kept calling Annamanila’s phone. I was only able to get through late last night. I was so happy when her phone finally rang!!!! Apparently, her one-storey house was submerged in 8-feet flood. They had to move in to a neighbor’s home with a second floor. She, apo Andeng and her daughter-in-law were evacuated to a safer place on Sunday night.

Now they are safe. Next step is to help them and the others who lost a lot to the flood.

2. The Disaster Kit list has been updated. New additions in bold. Keep the suggestions coming!


Last night, I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts kept turning to friends who live in Pasig from whom I have not heard yet. Annamanila, FengBrum, I hope you and your family are well. I will keep praying until I get word from you. 🙁


One realization (of the many) I got out of the Ondoy tragedy is that my family was not ready for a disaster.

As I watched the water rise down the street Saturday morning, I began to worry a bit. I live in a village that never floods. This is the first time I was actually worried of water getting into our home. Down the street, it was knee-deep already. I saw vehicles being evacuated out of the garage that was right smack in the middle of the flooded area.

At about mid-day, I lost internet and cable connections. Tap water was also cut off. Thankfully, our area is one of the few places in Metro Manila that did not get any power interruption. But the rain continued to rage.

At around 3 PM, I get a call from my husband – he was stranded at North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). Traffic was at stand-still. ( He got out of NLEX past 9 PM, and got home at around 12 midnight. He was wet, hungry, tired, but thankful and glad he got home in one piece.)

When cable TV signals finally came back on late in the afternoon, I saw more clearly the rampage caused by Ondoy. Flooded streets all over. News reports and tweets from my social networking sites were about families trapped and needing rescue, people stranded on the road for hours.

What was going on? Areas that never flooded were chest-deep in water! Homes that never had to deal with floods were submerged.

I began thinking fast-forward  – the what-ifs. What if we get flooded and trapped? What if we get caught without water, food? What happens to my kids? And the morbid thoughts, fight hard as I may want to, come creeping into my mind: “is your family protected in the event of your death?“. Are we ready for the worst?

I realized now how unprepared my family was for a disaster like this. I don’t even wan’t to talk on a national scale. Obviously, the government was caught unprepared too. But on my own level, I could have done what I could – just in case.

So yesterday, I started completing my disaster kit. Here are what I’m putting together:

drinking water

emergency stash of Nate’s milk and medications

canned goods, can opener

instant noodles (at worst, they can be eaten off the container even without hot water – good carb source)

crackers, chocolate bars

first aid kit

wet towels, isopropyl alcohol for sanitation

flashlight and spare batteries

rechargeable emergency lights

battery-operated radio

matches in a water-proof container or lighter


bag with change of clothes for each family member


Food and water should be good to last for 3 days.

I am going to keep these in an accessible area upstairs. In addition, I am keeping all important documents in a water-proof ziploc bag.

I will also make sure that:

cellphones and gadgets are always charged optimally;

the car always is always at least half-tankful! (My hub’s nasty habit of last-minute filling is now a big no-no);

I have the emergency numbers of NDCC, MMDA, PNRC, nearest police station in my cell’s directory

I will post the second part when I have completed our disaster kit. Did I miss anything?


Let us all continue to pray for the victims, those who are still waiting to be rescued or brought food. And let’s do our share to help. Here is a spreadsheet of places where we can bring our donations.

Now is the right time to rise and show the indomitable Filipino spirit.

12 thoughts on “Typhoon Ondoy – A Lesson on Disaster Preparedness

  1. I’m praying for everyone’s safety there. I couldn’t sleep well that day knowing all of my friends and family are there and in trouble.

    Thanks for sharing. And I also do hope it’s a lesson for all of us to opt to live in a greener way.

  2. Be sure you have enough food, water and medicine that will last 3 days at least. I think battery operated radio is also improtant just to know what is going on.

  3. @Dexie and Loraine – thanks for the suggestions! Will add to my list.

    Oh yes, make sure the supplies can last up to three days.
    My cellphone has a radio feature, but yes, I should also get a battery-op radio, just in case.

  4. Isn’t it amazing what turn of events can take place? Appreciate you letting your readers know about this.

  5. u can add on
    -candles n matches (on a ziplock plastic)
    – plastic trash bag (for drying)
    – a rope
    – playing cards (just to get by time)
    – mess kits or paper cups n plates n plastic utensils
    – utility knife /swiss knife
    – needles n thread (small sewing kit)

  6. Storm Ondoy really caught many of us by surprise. I’m glad that you and the rest of our friends are all safe. It’s good that you have arranged your own disaster kit. It’s a great idea and all of us should really consider having one at home.

  7. I feel you when you said that your family is not ready for a disaster. The flood shocked my family, too. We realized that life is indeed too short and it can be taken anytime. Take care!

  8. Sometimes I do feel guilty that I can have this stuff and that to have me prepared for (God forbid) a flood/ calamity, while others are busy worrying what to eat, and where to sleep later.

    I have nothing against being prepared, its just that I’m bothered for their safety. You want to help them, but only your tears came falling.

  9. Hi Justdroppingby.
    There really is nothing wrong with being prepared for a disaster, esp if you have the capability to be so. It would rather be irresponsible, despite having seen the disaster brought about by unpreparedness, to not learn the lesson and go through it again.
    Also, how can one who was caught unprepared be out helping others? At least, nakabawas na sana sa mga kailangang matulungan kung prepared ka, di ba?
    So don’t feel guilty about it. It’s the right thing to do.

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