Flash Floods in the Philippines

  • Flash Floods in the Philippines
    01.07.2011 09:43


    Torrential rains, which are common across the Philippines at this time of year, have resulted in flash flooding, causing devastation for a riverside community in the south.

    On Tuesday night this week, heavy rain drenched large parts of Davao City, on the southern island of Mindanao, causing the river Matina to burst its banks. The government's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that the city experienced the highest level of floodwaters ever recorded, reaching up to 10 feet.

    The floodwater swept dozens of homes away, with five districts of Davao City bearing the brunt of the flooding. Up to 15,000 families fled their submerged homes with the military's help, in the mostly poor community along the river. So far, 27 fatalities have been recorded, with up to 15 people reported missing too. Many people were swept away while sleeping on Tuesday night, because the floodwaters rose so quickly following this rainfall. Rain gauge measurements of this rainfall event are misleading, due to the localised nature of the heaviest rainfall, which did not fall within a recording area.

    Pictures taken during and after the flooding in Davao City.

    The Philippines is accustomed to flooding, and only last week, rainfall from Tropical Storm Maeri resulted in floods and forced the evacuation of 90,000 people from the capital Manila and surrounding provinces. Whilst across the southern islands, less than 10 percent of their annual rainfall is from tropical storms or cyclones, the northern Philippines can attribute at least 30 percent of the annual rainfall to this phenomenon.

    Precipitation is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year in Davao City in the south. However, other parts of the Philippines experience more of a seasonal climate, with parts of the year wetter than others. The capital city of Manila has just come out of its dry season, and the heaviest rains of the year are expected during July, August and September. Many areas of the Philippines are susceptible to heavy rains over the next few months, which are likely to cause disruption and flash flooding, especially in low-lying riverside communities.

    By: Alison Cobb