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Day 1, Sept. 27 - From Sr. RegiVic

2009 - Typhoon "Ondoy"

I’d like to share briefly my personal experience of this unprecedented deluge all over Metro Manila that turned our city into an ocean in less than 6 hours of heavy rainfall.

The weather station says that what happened in 1969 in 24 hours happened yesterday in 6 hours ! I left IFRS (where I help facilitate the Formators’ Accompaniment Program) at noon with Fr. Ely Cruz, SDB Provincial, in his car at noon and we tried to navigate Aurora Blvd and practically all alternate routes to Makati for 4 hours. Water level in most roads were knee high, in others up to the thighs. Both Don Bosco & San Lorenzo were already up to the neck because the creek overflowed. Through text, my own family in Magallanes described the same situation. Mommy sent home driver home at 3 p.m. and this morning I learned that Cesar swam from Magallanes bridge to Ecology village as the water was up to the neck and there were no vehicles at all up to Mckinley. Mary Francis texted that the Nova moved to the 3rd floor as the water already destroyed the gate and got into the first floor. Our Antipolo sisters were stranded in Cainta, stayed overnight in Burger King and reached Antipolo only this afternoon ! They’ve started relief operations right away.

Today Fe, Junalyn, Diane (Filipino postulant) & 2 caregivers gave all their physical and moral suppor to the Nova. The sight was painfully devastating and they will describe that in their letters. Our sisters are safe, but the ground floor will need some restoration. Trinidad, Roshni, the 2 Vietnamese postulants and I went to Malibay. Our alumnae started the water and food brigade so we were able to deliver emergency goods to around 300 families. Everywhere, people were cleaning up muddy houses, so were we in our compound. Anyone’s heart will break at the sight of the damage in the school : books, computers, etc. floating in mud. We just decided to discard a lot and build up the library & ground floor again. No water, no telephone line, no electricity, but no complaints. All worked in joy even with background music from transistor radios. The same situation in Magallanes. This typhoon attacked all sectors of the city. From chaos to blessing is what I call this day. Shared experience of material loss, of mutual care and help, of lightheartedness run through everywhere. Malibay & Magallanes had no mass today, Sunday, as the churches had to be cleaned up from layers of mud as well. But the music & laughter everywhere are just as present. I felt that the people were celebrating the Eucharist in the streets and in their neighborhood all day. I am sure their Eucharistic celebrations in church will be more meaningful in the days to come.

We started to receive local & international calls ; Family Councils & Alumnae are coming tomorrow. So we’ve organized ourselves in San Lorenzo for better coordination with our sister communities and other Makati-based schools for the relief operations this week. It is so touching to know so many care and we want that care to reach as many as possible. On the long-term, we will ask the alumnae to help San Juan Nepumoceno school. San Simon is all right, so is Boni. 
If you’re interested, there’s quite a wide video coverage on You Tube and on abs-cbn.com of the deluge. 25 provinces are in a state of calamity.

Love from Regivic

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People are stranded in Cainta, province of Rizal , eastern Manila
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An aerial view aboard a Philippine Air Force chopper shows devastation brought by Tropical Storm Ketsana in Cainta, province of Rizal , eastern Manila
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Residents are evacuated by police boats during flooding in Cainta Rizal, east of Manila
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Residents wait to be evacuated from a partially submerged house during flooding in Bocaue, north of Manila
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Thousands of people in the Philippine capital and nearby towns were marooned by flash floods after a strong tropical storm hit the main island of Luzon , disaster officials said.
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Residents cross a flooded street with the use of a rope in Quezon City
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A boy is lifted onto the roof of a building to escape the flooding in the Quezon City suburban of Manila . Nearly a month’s worth of rain fell in just six hours Saturday, triggering the worst flooding in the Philippine capital in 42 years, which stranded thousands on rooftops in the city and elsewhere.
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Residents clamber on electric wires to stay out of floodwaters while others wade neck-deep in Cainta Rizal, east of Manila
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A victim of floodings is rescued in Pasig City , east of Manila . Authorities rushed rescue and relief to thousands of people who spent the night on the roofs of their submerged houses in Manila and surrounding provinces.

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