No one was prepared for the wrath that typhoon Ketsana (local name Ondoy) released when it hit the Philippines last September 26, 2009. That was the day when Metro Manila experienced the worst rainfall in its history. Imagine getting 341 mm or 13.4 inches of rainfall in just a matter of six hours. That’s about a month’s worth of rainfall that the country usually gets. And although the Philippines is no stranger to typhoons, this was, by far, the worst ever and the one that left the most destruction.

From 8 AM to 2 PM that day, practically the whole of Metro Manila turned into a water world. The water filled the streets, underpasses, major highways, and buildings and residences. People were forced to seek higher ground – on top of their cars, rooftops and whatever stable structure they could get a hold of. And even if you get to the top, you’ll still feel scared when you see what’s happening on the ground – people needing rescue, objects being swallowed by the raging waters, parked cars moving along with the waves (yes, there were waves on the streets that used to be solid and dry). It wasn’t a pretty sight. I guess you really can’t put it to words. I think this video would tell it all.

This was taken inside a local hospital somewhere in Manila.

Typhoon Ketsana spared no one. Everyone was affected – the old, the young, the wealthy, the poor… The worst hit areas were Marikina, Rizal and Pasig, where the water level reached the second floor and people got stranded on the rooftops for hours, and others even more than 24 hours. They were drenched, cold, hungry and scared to death. Even when the rains stopped, rescue efforts couldn’t get to them right away because these areas became impassable and vehicles couldn’t get through. Those who had relatives on these areas braved the rains and the floods and went there on foot in the hope of rescuing them. The good thing that came out of this was that strangers were helping each other out – risking their lives to keep the others safe.

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Even if the typhoon has already left the country, what happened is still fresh in the minds of the Filipinos. Ketsana left about 80% of Metro Manila underwater, more than a quarter of a million people displaced, more than two hundred dead, and millions worth of damage. The clean up has already begun and relief operations are ongoing. The Internet became a big tool in getting donations from other Filipinos abroad who wanted to help. People are updating their Facebook, Twitter and other sites on how to send donations over. A lot have responded, not only fellow Filipinos but other nationalities as well, even popular personalities like Demi Moore and Josh Groban have called for help to donate through their Twitter accounts.

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Despite everything though, many Filipinos are thankful for having survived this ordeal, including the Pepper team who are all safe and sound – thank God. This tragedy has brought out the best in many Filipinos. Those who are able have been donating their time, effort and money to those in need. As of now, many individuals and groups have set up relief efforts by accepting donations and distributing them to the affected areas, because the residents there practically have to start from scratch since their homes were destroyed. If you want to help them pick up the pieces, you can do so by sending over cash or goods (clothes, food, drinks, medicines, blankets…) If you’re abroad, you can donate online or by phone.

Donate Online:

PhilippineAid.com
Ayala Foundation (select AFI-Typhoon Relief Fund in drop down menu)
World Food Programme
TXTPower (Paypal)
Ateneo Alumni Northeast, Inc.
Xoom
HOPE Worldwide
Australian Red Cross

Donate by Phone:

USA: Call the American Red Cross at 1-800-435-7669. Please choose the 3rd option (International Donation), then tell the operator that your donation is for the Ondoy (Ketsana) typhoon victims in the Philippines.

Local Hotlines:

Red Cross donation through SMS: text REDAMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4483 (Smart)

For people who need assistance:

National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) Emergency Numbers: (+632) 912-5668, (+632) 911-1406, (+632) 912-2665, (+632) 911-5061. Help hotlines: (+632) 734-2118, (+632) 734-2120

And Ketsana is not yet done.

About Pepper Virtual Assistants

Pepper Virtual Assistant Services is a business solutions firm that specializes on administrative assistance, customer support, CRM, copywriting, and personal virtual assistance. We take pride in our reliable service and responsive client handling which embodies our team’s optimal performance.

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