Thursday, October 8, 2009

Flood Fears

Ondoy. Pepeng. Flood. Flood in several cities!

God is cleaning house. So says a good friend of mine. To some extent, I agree with him, but I also believed in His promise never to destroy the earth again by water.

I am thankful that my personal calamities are bearable, only as much as I could carry. But I have had my own flood experience one fair, sunny afternoon in June 1, 2007 when it rained a gentle rain still with an afternoon sun. My daughter and her yaya decided to go out in the rain and were frolicking when suddenly a freak flood erupted from the clogged rain gutter of our house, filling up our ceiling in a matter of seconds and then the waters above started dropping through holes like mini waterfalls everywhere.

Then I thought: water conducts electricity. The computer was still on! I had to turn off everything and rushed to the main switch box. It seemed like an eternity trying to climb through a television set, stereo components until I got my hands on the levers, pulling them down as I heaved a great sigh of relief.

Since then I realized that electric outlets should not be as low as the standard two feet above the ground. It should be way way up to avoid electrical shock in times of flash floods and overall power is still on.

But then, as time passed, I forgot about the flood. I began to have more electrical appliances than electrical sockets so I began to have more and more extension cords. These extension outlets usually lie on the floor where I would plug in electric fans and night lights for overnight use. Some extensions have nothing plugged on them but they are carelessly stuck to the two-foot outlet and left overnight.

Then I began to realize the horror. A couple of nights ago, I couldn't sleep because of the steady rain outside. More and more cities have been flooded, ours might be next. I would rather sleep on the floor than on the bed so that if flood waters come in during our sleep, at least I could feel it while it's as low as a few inches deep. So the extension cords we are using must be raised higher to allow us more time to head for the main switch. Unused extensions must be pulled out at all times. Overnight electric fans must be placed on a higher elevation and not on the floor.

Now I'm thinking of emergency floaters. Since I can't afford even a surfboard and will have no use nor room for it in the meantime, I'm thinking of a wider version of a swimmer's kickboard. Why not a styropor board and stash it in the meantime under our mattresses as additional back support?

For a more ambitious project, since some Filipino modern homes feature a bahay kubo as a refreshing retreat from their concrete main house, why not build a native bamboo house that's not anchored to the ground but rather make its floor a bamboo raft at the same time so that when flood waters rise, you have an instant floating house?

Crazy invention mothered by necessity. My good friend is even thinking of joining two catamarans in his drawing board. Who's got a better idea?

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