At a restaurant in Mandaluyong City, at least three emergency broadcast messages from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council interrupted lunch for most patrons who received the text alerts —each punctuated by a distinct high-pitched alarm—almost simultaneously Sunday noon.
Super Typhoon “Karding” was then barreling toward Luzon—with Metro Manila right smack on its path. “Huwag naman sanang parang Ondoy (I hope it’s not like ‘Ondoy’),” said one of the patrons in the restaurant, looking at her watch while eating kare-kare, as if to remind herself to go home early before the heavy downpour starts.
Karding eventually made landfall in the vicinity of Burdeos, Quezon province at around 5:30 p.m.—exactly a day and 13 years since Tropical Storm “Ondoy” submerged communities and dumped 455 millimeters or a month’s volume of rain across Luzon for six hours on Sept. 26, 2009.
But according to Vicente Malano, administrator of the state weather bureau PAGASA, while Karding is a super typhoon, it is not expected to have the same effect as Ondoy that caused severe flooding and killed 464 people 13 years ago.
Unlike Ondoy, he said Karding has fewer cluster of clouds that will bring heavy rains.
Malano said Karding’s winds are also weaker in terms of intensity compared to Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
Ondoy, which made landfall near the boundary of Aurora and Quezon provinces, affected a total of 1,785 barangays from 154 municipalities and 30 cities across 12 regions—including 239 barangays in Metro Manila.
The tropical storm also affected over 4.9 million people and left in its wake at least P11 billion in damage to infrastructure and agriculture.
In Quezon City, a 68-year-old Ondoy survivor anxiously looks outside her window. She and her family have since left their two-story house in Pasig City —the entire first floor was submerged by floodwaters as Ondoy wreaked havoc in the metropolis—but she has yet to forget the trauma she experienced 13 years ago.
It will be a sleepless night for her, but the woman is lucky, as she and her family now live in a condo unit on the highest floor.
Local governments in Metro Manila, placed under Signal No. 3, have already ordered preemptive evacuations of residents in high-risk areas.
Billboards along the South Luzon Expressway, the East and West serviceroads, as well as other areas in Muntinlupa City have also been rolled down due to Karding.
For Dinagat Islands Rep. Alan Ecleo, whose province was struck by Super Typhoon “Odette” last year, lawmakers must “institutionalize” learnings from past disasters and streamline the government’s disaster response.
He said remembering the devastation caused by Ondoy, Yolanda, and Odette, among other weather disasters, was “not enough.”
“We need to institutionalize our learnings so that we can minimize the damage future typhoons will bring. We have paid dearly for these lessons,” said Ecleo, chairman of the House Committee on Disaster Resilience.