Some of the residents of Rizal province have suffered from the supposed slow response of the government amid the onslaught of Typhoon “Ulysses.”
Residents remained trapped inside their houses for more than 10 hours now, with still no rescuers in sight.
Rowena Bragas, who is currently in Quezon City, said that her family in Barangay Burgos in Rodriguez, Rizal was caught off-guard by the brunt of the typhoon. Local government officials there allegedly did not order her family nor the residents to evacuate, and that the only warning they got was a siren, which signalled the possibility of flooding.
“Hindi sila prepared, hindi gaya ng Typhoon Rolly. Nagulat sila. Siguro kaya pati ‘yung barangay officials (hindi ready),” she told Manila Bulletin in an interview. “Wala eh. Kasi sana man lang sinabihan na ‘o may pre-emptive evacuation tayo, kasi alam naman natin prone sa baha itong area na ‘to.”
(They were not prepared, unlike during Typhoon Rolly. They were surprised. That’s maybe the reason why barangay officials were also not ready. They should have told the residents, ‘we would be ordering a pre-emptive evacuation’ because they know this area is prone to flooding.)
When the torrential rains started to submerge the first floor of their three-storey house at around 4 a.m., she immediately called emergency hotlines to no avail.
“Ang dami ko nang tinawagan… wala talaga. Wala talaga, as in… ‘yung putol lang na tunog. Minsan tumawag ako biglang naputol,” she said.
(I called a lot of hotlines to no avail. The line just kept being cut.)
“Noong nalaman ko na pinasok na ‘yung first floor—halos kalahati na ng first floor—medyo nag-papanic na ako… Since 4 a.m., wala pa ring [rescue team]. Nangangatal na sila sa ginaw tapos sa gutom—lahat” she added in an interview conducted around 2 p.m.
(When I found that the flood already engulfed our first floor, I started to panic. Since 4 a.m., I have been calling for rescue teams but no one has yet arrived. They are already getting cold and hungry.)
Bragas said residents did not expect the rain would engulf their community as it all happened quite suddenly.
“Biglang tumaas ‘yung baha, hindi sya ‘yung dahan-dahan na baha eh (The flood waters rose quickly, not gradually),” she said.
Aside from her family, all of the residents in their community have also remained trapped, still begging to be rescued.
“Sabi ko kay mama sumama na siya sa rescuer kung sakaling meron. Sabi nya, ‘Anak, alam mo ba, kanina pa kami naghihintay, wala talaga,” Bragas said.
(I told my mother to go with the rescuers, when they arrive. But she said, ‘We’ve been waiting for a while now but no one has yet to come.’)