Photos by Charie Villa
FLOODS SPAWNED by heavy rains without a name swamped huge parts of Metro Manila on Tuesday, overwhelming rescue and relief workers and bringing the busy Metropolis to a wet and slippery standstill.
But if much of the Metro was on suspended animation, social media was certainly abuzz as citizens with a laptop, smart phone and a ready internet connection pitched in to help direct rescuers to trouble spots and inform other people of the latest developments in the weather and the floods.
Aside from the usual postings of flooding pictures and videos on Facebook and the barrage of tweets on Twitter, some resourceful Filipinos put up an online spreadsheet where concerned citizens can list down places where help is most urgently needed. As of nightfall on Tuesday, the spreadsheet already has more than six hundred entries, reporting people trapped on roofs of their homes as floods raged through what used to be streets. The spreadsheet detailed the location of those who needed to be rescued, a general description of the area, and the source of the information, for verification purposes.
As well, the makers of the online spreadsheet were mindful to remind those updating the document to mark in green those entries who have already been rescued, thus avoiding the duplication of work by rescue and relief services already stretched thin by the disaster.
The spreadsheet can easily be referenced by any rescue group that can access the web, and is constantly updated by volunteers real-time.
The rescue spreadsheet can be viewed here. However, in order to avoid network congestion, we advise those who want to view the spreadsheet out of curiosity to do so when much of the danger has already passed. To those who must view the document, please exercise prudence and utmost responsibility in making any changes to it, as this concerns lives.
With disaster in our midst, Twitter is of course not far behind. For rescue requests, you may use #rescuePH; for relief efforts and donations, use #reliefPH; and for general flood news, use #FloodsPH.
On Tumblr, Pinoys prayed for relief from “that unnamed rainfall.”
“Typhoon Jener just left the Philippines yet an unnamed rainfall has been causing so much flood here,” writes Marjomarie. “People are even using ziplines, boats, and even jetskis just to go from one place to another.”
Fcukyeahkaisoo apologized for ranting about his concerns that his stuff would get wet in the rain, when so many people are already miserable and in danger. “I am sorry for making my post like I’m (more concerned) about my stuff than the people dying,” he said.
“The rainfall has surpassed Ondoy, and it isn’t even a *** storm,” said Acomplexmix.
One tangential issue that seemed to get a lot of mileage on social media were rants allegedly posted by anti reproductive health bill advocates saying that the disaster was a sign of the displeasure of the Divine over the vote in the House of Representatives yesterday to end amendments to the controversial proposal.
Several people angrily commented on this on Facebook, saying that people should have better use of their time and energy than blaming the RH bill for the floods, and raining God’s wrath on RH advocates.
Social media was also where people came up with all sorts of ideas to help. Hotlines were sent out over Facebook and Twitter, as seen below:
Facebook user Ang Nars: National posted a poster of the dangers of wading through flooded streets, something too many people tonight cannot avoid.
One enterprising Facebook user named Floody Carbag posted photos of at least one way to flood-proof your car, at least when the floodwaters come and trap your wheels in the garage.
If it looks like placing your trusty steed in a giant ziplock bag, well, that’s because it is. The car owner then securely ties the appropriately-cocooned vehicle to an appropriately-strong post. This is not advisable for those whose domiciles are made of wood and light materials, for very obvious reasons.
And, Facebook user Michael Vivas posted a photo of a yellow submarine as a better alternative to those inflatable boats for use in floods. The submarine however sports that familiar logo one associates with cheap handy gadgets from China. While the photo below is obviously photoshopped, one commenter simply had to ask the obvious: How many weeks are covered by the warranty?