Flooding in Manila caused by climate change

In the Philippines a tropical storm Ketsana, also called Ondoy has been ravaging Manila and the surrounding areas. Nearly three hundred thousand people have been displaced by the storm; many of them have lost all their possessions. About eighty people have lost their lives through drowning, landslides and other effects of the storm.

The storm shed more rainfall on Manila in twelve hours that it usually receives in the month of September. Never has Manila recorded more rainfall in a day, even though Manila is used to tropical typhoons. It struck Manila on 25th September with a rain winds that reached over 50 miles an hour. These are not usually strong winds for typhoons in the Philippines but Ondoy was loaded with rain to unprecedented levels. The chief weather forecaster of the Philippines is convinced that climate change is to blame.

Jane, blogging on “Here’s to Life” describes first hand her experiences in Manila, posting her account and some photographs in a way that the professional journalists would find hard to match. You can read her account on


Jane ends her post with a hope that we, the public can respond to this disaster with a wave of humanity and generosity. We should do so because the deluge in Manila is caused by ordinary folk in places as far away as the European Union, the United States, Australia, Russia and China. We have managed our affairs carelessly of the environment. We drive in cars unnecessarily with engines that are far too thirsty, we carelessly abuse energy and waste tremendous amounts of what we make and produce. We buy fossil fuel energy in copious amounts.

In doing all these things we deposit more amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases in the atmosphere, which warm the atmosphere by preventing heat escaping. A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture than a cooler one, so when storms strike they are loaded with more moisture than ever.

When these storms strike places where people live, they deposit more water than ever, so that even if the storm is not particularly strong, like Ondoy was not particularly strong, it will cause damage with heavy rainfall than ever.

The link is direct and we, the developed world have forged every link in the chain of events that have displaced so many people in the Philippines killing some of them.

When Jane hopes for compassion she is being too polite. Helping the Philippines recover from Ondoy is not a matter of humanity or compassion. It is a matter of obligation. We in the developed world created this problem. We should fix it.

Unfortunately, this very heavy tropical storm is merely a glimpse of things to come.

8 Responses

  1. The Philippines really does need international help the amount of rainfall was roughly twice as much as from Katrina which hit New orleans in America. The Philippines also is a cause of global warming and if you can see they have a lot of polluting vehicles with little effective regulation. The Philippine rice plantations cause a lot of methane (x 23 of CO2) . The flooding apparently energy related because there have been commentsreleased a great amount of water. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=509592&publicationSubCategoryId=63
    The level of the Angat Dam is 214m when its designed capacity level is 212m .
    The drainage in Manila was blocked with a great deal of litter and also in many squatter homes are in and around the drainage.
    The Philippines expects to have a lot of rain every year and localised flooding even in average year is normally expected.
    Compounding the problem of Global warming and poverty in The Philippines is the institutionalised corruption. In the Philippines a system to distribute money for virtually all public services is known as the ‘pork barrel’ http://www.congress.gov.ph/pdaf/pork_barrel.pdf http://www.worldmission.ph/10November04/Philippines.htm
    …so it would be expected that any aid from outside would only serve to further enrich an elite minority in the philippines and would maybe not assist the people we can see in the news articles who have lost what little they had.
    There is a huge disparity of wealth in the philippines there are a very rich minority and a majority living well below the poverty line. Some are lucky to find themselves inbetween these two extremes.
    It would seem that Jane, blogging on “Here’s to Life” is actually quite fortunate and the life that she describes is of a minority who have money and it really does not reflect the real hardship that can be witnessed in Manila. Indeed the flood sounds as if it is a minor inconvenience for Jane.

  2. Also Robert a British construction company Mabey & Johnson is involved in corruption in The Philippines maybe they can donate some of the excessive profits to aid victims of this disaster in The Philippines. The small family owned company has made £400 Millipn from UK goverment loans and grants for these projects.

    “….A Guardian investigation has discovered that steel bridges costing more than £400m have been sold to the Philippines by the Mabey family, all secured with UK government-backed loans and grants. But many of the crossings, which were supposed to open up the flood-prone jungle terrain, have no roads to go with them.

    The British construction company, Mabey & Johnson, owned by the Mabey family, has been handed virtually all the supply contracts for the bridges, despite being more expensive than its competitors. Accusations of corruption and overcharging are now being made in the Philippines. Mabey denies any impropriety, saying the allegations are made by rivals or are politically motivated….”


    The company has just been convicted after a SFO investigation on 25th September 2009

    Click to access PRESS_RELEASE_25_%209_09.pdf


  3. Since wriitng this the latest news is that over 450 have lost their lives and nealry half a million people have been displaced.

  4. The 6.6 million this company was fined is loose change and a tiny fraction of the profits they made last year, it seems that the bigger the company is, the great part of a limited amount of immunity to suit they have, not complete protection but still a megre detterant to these companies, hit them much MUCH harder and give the money back to where it was stolen from I say.

    Just seen the lunch time news, the Labour party conference has just been mentioned, social unrest, population control, policing, but no mention of global warming as yet,

    What Jane has said is what myself and thousands of others are calling for, but the top echelon will hold out until you light the fire beneath their feet, money is far more important than even their own lives, the wrong kind of people are in control of the planet.

    Why are we becomming the sheeple more and more and let ourselves be ruled by the dogs, sorry to be so blunt here, but do you see idiots like sugar, branson and people like them that are causing in part the global warming, the energy used to build their empires belongs to us all, yet we get nothing in return but worsening weather, famine and disease, while their quest for money is more important to the world dieing around them

    Surely they will all loose as well without the sheeple with which to build their empires further its going to come to the end of our world as we know it, I can see it now,

    A rich man standing at the market stall with huge bags of gold in his hands, trying to buy an apple from a guy who has two, but the guy wants a pear as a swap not gold, stupid I hear you saying, maybe, but it could just come to pass,

    Ita a bit like the joke where there are two brothers sitting in a pub, one has worked very hard for the other with little in return,enabling him to buy everything that he has, he turns round to him and asks,

    Brother, What would you do if you had two sports cars.

    Amswer, If I had two sports cars I would let you drive one because I cannot drive them both at once.

    Next question he asks is, What would you do if you had two holiday houses,

    Answer, If I had two house I would let you live in one at the wekends when I was away, because you are my family.

    Third question, What would you do if you had two chickens.

    Answer, You can bugger off he says, you know I have got two chickens.

    This is the kind of brotherly love the richer brother has for his own kind and is common place in society today.

    Remember, Jesus turned a loaf and a fish into sustinence not gold, so please let us start using our loafs.

  5. Wouldn’t it be such a nice gesture if our former Prime Minister Tony Blair would donate the €400,000 (£324,000) $500,000 fee he was paid to speak in total of 1 hour in Manila in March this 2009 ? €200,000 (£182,000) I wonder if he saw the abject poverty in Manila as he traveled from his private jet to his speech venues, luxury hotel and Malacang Palace ?

  6. If we tried to make Mr Blair give back that money we would have a real problem on our hands because Tony is a barrister and a barrister is immune to suit, an untouchable in the eyes of the law, this is why many people are saying the wrong people are running the countries of the world, most of which have this kind of background, they in part invent and run the newest laws of the world, find new avenues to abuse.

    Its rather like the recent flu vaccine with a disclaimer attached you can be made to take it, but the givers nor inventors cannot be touched if anything goes wrong, if they lost this immunity it would make them do a better job, the only way these laws ever change is a situation like that of France in the 1780’s.

    The powers at large and the companies who have lets face it exploited the people of indonesia, could sort out their problems very quickly by putting thteir hands into their coffers and give back but a small fraction of what those people gave them in blood sweat shops and tears, its not asking a lot of their many billions of dollars sitting in banks throughout the world, we can arm an army in weeks, the people at tsunami central are still waiting for theirs.

    Not stepping in and helping those in need really is showing ones own insecurities, this is why they build super bunkers for themselves, ride around in fully armoured cars to feel safe, they are not worthy applicants to be world leaders,

    I’m not a communist by a long chalk, but Castro had more respect for his people than the whole of the rest of the world leaders put together, and is the only leader in the world to beat the Americans at their own game and become the leaders of his own people once again.

    Sometimes we must be cruel to be kind, but we are never cruel to those who have never been kind to the majority.

    On a closing note, if there is not enough raw materials with which to help those poor people in need, where has that food and supplies gone to, give you one guess, its been turned into gold and been squirelled away somewhere, as soon as the last grain of corn has ben converted into gold, the last tree has been cut down in the name of money, we as a human race are well and truly ******.

    Lets call on all the worlds rich to give a half of one percent of their riches to help the people of Manilla.

  7. Mr Blair needs his fee for speaking in Manil a lot less than the people of Manil need that money. I suspect that if Mr Blair had never become Prime Minister with our votes no one would pay him to deliver a speech. It is arguable, therefore that a Prime Minister ought to be donating the lion’s share of rewards from things like public speaking and from consultancies and from his autobiography back to the people.
    meanwhile none of this helps Manila, where the detah toll is still rising.


  8. Here is the (pathetic, greedy) Mr Tony Blair talking in Ateneo De Manila University for £324,000 whilst children beg in the streets outside for a few peso’s :

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