Miyerkules, Agosto 8, 2012

Heavy Rains Made the Philippines a "Water World"


The scenes were nail-biting: floodwaters rising fast, people scampering for safety and, in extreme cases, residents screaming for help from rooftops.
The floods also trapped patients at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital in Sampaloc, Manila. As of press time, patients and staff were still waiting for rescue, with floods swamping the first floor.

One of the patients was 76-year-old Amparo Lopez, who had been diagnosed with pneumonia, according to her grandson Ivan Angelo de Lara.

“When I was about to go down and buy food at around 7 a.m., the elevators were not working. I took the stairs and when I arrived on the ground floor, it was only then that I saw the lobby already submerged in knee-deep floodwater,” De Lara said.

“I’ve already prayed several times to God to make this stop. Delubyo eh (This is a deluge). But He is all I can trust now. I hope this rain and this flood stop,” he said.
He said electricity, including air-conditioning, continued to operate in the hospital, keeping vital medical equipment functioning.

Pulled from the roof
Elsewhere, some survivors said the floods were worse than what Tropical Storm “Ondoy” brought in 2009.

“This is worse than Ondoy,” Ana Marie Noceja, 32, said after a rescue team on a motorboat pulled her, her husband and their 5-year-old daughter from the roof of their two-story house where they had been marooned by floodwaters for 10 hours.

Noceja, an employee of a housing subdivision, recounted to the Inquirer the hardship she and her family went through before rescuers reached their house on Sto. Domingo Street in Barangay (village) Siena in Quezon City.

The Noceja couple and their daughter shivered in the cold as rescuers brought them to a barangay hall nearby.

“We haven’t eaten anything since 5 in the morning. There’s also no water,” said Ana Marie, whose voice shook during the interview.

The couple said the floods, which reached up to the second floor of their house, were worse than what they experienced when Ondoy hit Metro Manila in 2009.

“At least back then, we were able to evacuate right away. But today we couldn’t do that on our own,” she said.

The Nocejas left behind all their valuables in their house and just managed to pick up a bag of clothes.

“We no longer thought of saving our things,” Ana Marie said.

Emotional scenes

The floods also touched off emotional scenes in Marikina City.

In Barangay Malanday, the Inquirer saw several residents screaming for help from the rooftops of their houses after it became impossible for them to get down to the heavily flooded roads.

By past 2 p.m., only rubber boats could be used to reach the barangay located near the Marikina River, which, by that time, had breached the minimum 18-meter critical level.

“I can’t get down! I can’t get down!” the Inquirer heard a resident scream to members of a rescue unit passing by on a rubber boat.

In Bulelak Gym, the number of evacuees had reached more than 800 people. In nearby Malanday Elementary School, the figure was more than twice that number.

The Marikina Rescue 161 team said a 1-year-old baby accidentally hit its head on the pavement after his father, Danilo Biranes, slipped as he was about to enter an evacuation area. The condition of the baby, as of press time, was not known.

Anna Loresco, owner of a printing company in the Provident Village subdivision, said it was a good thing they left even before members of the Marikina Rescue 161 team had arrived to forcibly evacuate the residents.

“We woke up at 3 a.m. and left. We just came back to our house to get other things. At that time the river, I think, was at 18 meters,” she said.

Loresco said she saw how floodwaters had quickly risen and “engulfed” some of the nearby houses in lower parts of the subdivision. She and her husband quickly packed up and left.

“We did not want to stay there. Everything might get worse,” she said.

Sleepless night

In Quezon City, some residents in Barangay Siena endured a sleepless night, praying they would be saved from the six-foot-deep floods.

David Job Salutan, 22, a seafarer, said he had not slept since Monday night.

“In a matter of minutes, the water rose by two feet,” Salutan said, fearing another Ondoy, which swamped the entire Sto. Domingo Street three years ago, would strike again.

“The rains now have lasted longer than during Ondoy,” he said.

Rescuers from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Air Force came with rubber boats around 4 p.m.

The lack of equipment had hampered the work of rescue teams earlier.

“We had no motorboats to use earlier,” Trinidad Arturo, a member of Quezon City’s public order and safety team, said when asked why it took them a long while to pluck trapped residents from their homes.

Cherilyn de Jesus was jolted from her sleep when floods began rising outside her home in Fairview, Quezon City.

Within two hours, she and her children watched in panic as the waters rushed in at around 5 a.m., forcing them to seek refuge with a neighbor whose house stood on higher ground.

“We could no longer stay in our house. The sounds of the rain made me scared because it wouldn’t stop,” a shaken Cherilyn recounted. Soon the waters would reach the roof of her house.

At her neighbor’s house, Cherilyn was one of 30 adult residents of Sitio (subvillage) Ruby, Sapamanai village, in Fairview, trapped by the overnight rains and floods. With them were 22 very hungry children, including babies who needed milk.

“We were all hungry but we were more worried for our children. We needed food and candles,” she said.

Cherilyn said the floods began rising at 3 a.m. when blinding rain pelted their community, which lay near La Mesa Dam.

White cloth for help

In Marikina City, some residents put up a white cloth to signal for help.

“We don’t have a white blanket so we used a T-shirt hanging on a bamboo pole,” said Sherryl Estrella, 35.

Estrella and her neighbors had sought shelter in an empty house along Mais Street, Barangay Tumana, and were still waiting for rescue.

“We have run out of water and food. We don’t even have diaper for a newborn baby who’s just three days old,” Estrella, who was stranded along with six families, told the Inquirer by phone.

“Only three steps of the stairs remain before floodwaters reach us here on the second floor. But we can’t go to the third floor because it has no roof, it’s just a ‘sampayan’ (a place to dry clothes).”

She said they were also taking care of two sick people, one with rheumatism and another with a head wound.

Martes, Hulyo 31, 2012

London Olympics: Barriga reaches final 16, keeps PHL medal hopes alive

Olympic boxer Mark Barriga gives Pinoys reason to cheer 

The Philippines' lone boxing Olympic bet Mark Anthony Barriga gave Filipinos reason to cheer when he defeated Italian Manuel Cappai Tuesday in the light flyweight category, keeping the country's medal hopes alive.

The Olympics have otherwise been a  series of disappointments so far for the medal-starved nation, as Pinay weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skeet shooter Brian Rosario, and archer rachel Cabral have all been eliminated. 
During the fight, the 19-year-old Barriga used a strong first round to beat Cappai, 17-7, to advance to the final 16 of the Men’s Light Fly 49 kgs.
On August 3, Barriga will face Kazakhstan’s Birzhan Zhakypov, who won a close bout against Jeremy Baccu of France with a nail-biting score of 18-17.

Barriga has a chance to end the country's medal drought that has lasted 16 years. Boxer Onyok Velasco, also a light flyweight, won a silver at the Atlanta Games in 1996. 
Against going pro
Meanwhile, Barriga’s family in Panabo City in Davao del Norte was overjoyed.

However, they are not in favor of Barriga going pro and would like him to finish his studies first, a report of radio dzBB's Davao affiliate said.
The report said Barriga had to stop studies at the University of Mindanao to train for the London Olympic games.
In an interview over radio dzBB, one of Barriga's siblings said they were thankful for the prayers and support of the Filipino people for the Olympic team.
Barriga is the second of three children. His family said he already showed potential in boxing even when he was in elementary school. 

London Olympics 2012 Boxing, Day 4 Review: Marcano makes progress

Puerto Rico's Jantony Ortiz Marcano was one of a number of boxers to light up the ring on an exciting night of action at the ExCeL.

Jantony Ortiz Marcano of Puerto Rico
Jantony Ortiz Marcano of Puerto Rico enters the ring prior to his men's Light Fly Weight contest on Day 4 of London 2012.
Ortiz Marcano is eager to continue his island's fine Boxing tradition after moving into the last 16 of the Light Fly Weight category with a 20-6 win over Ghana's Tetteh Sulemanu.
Steeped in the stories of fighters like the great Felix Trinidad and two-weight world champion Daniel Santos, the last Puerto Rican boxer to win an Olympic medal in 1996, the nation's young team is targeting further glory.
Ortiz Marcano, who celebrated his 18th birthday last week, is one of four teenagers in the five-man Puerto Rican squad. The team's fifth member, Middle Weight Enrique Collazo, has already been knocked out of the tournament.
He certainly relished his Olympic debut, arriving in the ring with a huge smile on his face and proceeding to showcase a series of flashy moves as he took apart his opponent, establishing an 8-1 lead within three minutes.
Ortiz Marcano said: 'I was smiling going into the ring and coming out of the ring because that is how I feel and I don't want to change anything. I told my corner they had to keep smiling too. I fought well and I have a lot more to come.'
Spain's world number seven Jose de la Nieve Linares was surprised 14-11 by Carlos Quipo Pilataxi of Ecuador. The veteran Spaniard paid the price for a sluggish first round and struggled to match his opponent's workrate.
Earlier in the Light Fly Weight division, Cuba's Yosbany Veitia Soto scored the biggest win in the competition so far as he overcame Australia's Billy Ward 26-4. Filipino Mark Barriga also looked strong in a 17-7 win over Italy's Manuel Cappai.
At Light Welter Weight, India's Manoj Kumar set up a last-16 meeting with Great Britain's Thomas Stalker after pulling away from Serdar Hudayberdiyev in the final two rounds to record a 13-7 victory.

London Olympics: Protecting the Flame – whatever the weather

As the Olympic Torch Relay reaches the halfway stage, Producer Deborah Hale provides an insider's view of life on the road. Here she describes the work of the Torch Security Team, responsible for protecting the Flame as it travels around the UK.

Come rain or shine...
Love on the Olympic Torch Relay

Exactly halfway through the 70-day Torch Relay, the weather changed dramatically.
The sunshine that has followed the Torch pretty much everywhere it has travelled suddenly hid from us, and was replaced by storm clouds and high winds – really high winds, in fact, of up to 40 miles an hour.
As we travelled from Kendal in the Lake District towards Blackpool, the rain lashed down. But the public and the amazing Torch Relay team were undeterred. The Torchbearers donned waterproof ponchos and shivered on the roadside to wait patiently for their slots. The crowds rewarded them with cheers. Small children with rain dripping off their noses clapped their hands and shook the golden and rather soggy torches that they had made in school.
In the thick of things and getting more weather-worn than most was the Torch Security Team (TST). As I watched them getting drenched in the line of duty, I reflected on what an amazing team of individuals they are. Always smiling but constantly focused.
It is the job of the TST to protect the integrity of the Olympic Flame at all times and they have become something of a phenomenon in what is already a phenomenal Torch Relay.
These 35 men and women of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) were selected from 650 applicants. The youngest is 22, and the oldest is 50. They have been in training for 18 months and have a unique set of skills which they bring to their role. Of course, they are super fit – on a ‘running day’ they can cover up to 35 miles. But they also combine policing, protection and communication skills, all of which are on display in the way they interact with the Torchbearers and the public.
Come rain or shine they protect the Torchbearer and ensure that the Olympic Flame is exchanged properly at the point of the ‘kiss’. They are responsible for the safe transfer of the Flame back into the lantern when the day is done, and they protect it while we all sleep. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them after which they will all return to normal duties.
The public has taken them to their hearts, as have we, and they are now receiving dozens of emails of support from their MPS colleagues ever day.
As the Torch crew wear somewhat similar uniforms to the TST, I am regularly asked by people: ‘Are your legs sore?’ Sometimes I am tempted to pretend that I do, in fact, run all day and protect the Flame, but in truth I know that I cannot compare with this extraordinary group. I am very proud to call them part of our team.Come rain or shine...
Torchbearer Matilda Sayburn-Hughes is flanked by members of the Torch Security Team as she carries the Olympic Flame through a rainy Kendal.

London Olympics: Day 4 Review: Volleyball Men's competition wide open

Competition for medals in the men's Volleyball competition is heating up after another action-packed day of drama at Earls Court.
Poland's suffered a defeat that could cost them dearly as they were beaten by Bulgaria.

Andrea Anastasi's side had been installed as gold medal favourites by some after winning the World League but Bulgaria played them at their own game, hitting them off the court with a simple down-the-middle approach to win 22-25 27-29 25-13 23-25.

Bulgaria are now top of Group A, and they will be favourites to extend their unbeaten record against Australia.

Meanwhile, the United States once again staked their claim as they eased to a second successive win, beating Germany in straight sets.

Alan Knipe's defending champions were written off in the build-up to London 2012, with many believing their much-changed side could not match the achievements of the one that tasted success at Beijing 2008.

But they have a 100 per cent record from their two pool games so far, having beaten Serbia on Sunday and Vital Heynen's side today.

The true tests of their chances are still to come - they have to play arch-rivals Brazil - but their start has been an impressive one.

In the day's other games, Serbia recorded their first win of the tournament as they saw off Tunisia 3-1 and Italy are off and running in Pool A after seeing off a dangerous Argentina side 3-1.

Great Britain lost to Australia, while in the final game of the evening Brazil beat Russia.

London Olympics: Day 4 Review: Quarter-final line-up complete women's Football competition.

Steph Houghton's winning goal helped Great Britain secure a 1-0 victory over Brazil at Wembley tonight to complete the group stage of the women's Football competition.  

Great Britain celebrate
Stephanie Houghton celebrates with her team-mates after scoring against Brazil on Day 4 of London 2012.
In pure statistical terms, Houghton's third goal of the tournament meant Kelly Smith could afford to miss a second-half penalty as GB set up a last-eight clash with Canada.
The game was played in front of a British record 70,584 crowd for a women's Football match.
Meanwhile, Abby Wambach maintained reigning champions the USA's 100 per cent record in the competition with the defining moment of their narrow 1-0 victory over DPR Korea.
Wambach scored her 141st goal in her 185th appearance for her country at Manchester United's Old Trafford. It was enough to guarantee her side top spot in Group G, and a place in the quarter-finals against New Zealand.
South Africa battled their way to a first Olympic point while Japan advanced to the quarter-finals as Group F runners-up following a 0-0 draw at the Millennium Stadium.
Striker Kozue Ando and midfielder Asuna Tanaka wasted the best opportunities for Japan, who will take on Brazil for a place in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Elodie Thomis fired France into a quarter-final showdown with Sweden after a narrow 1-0 victory over Colombia.
The Lyon winger's early strike was enough to claim the points, although a resilient display by goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda and a second-half Colombian fightback ensured the result remained in doubt until the final whistle.
France, inspired by the classy Louisa Necib, took the lead with just five minutes gone when the pacy Thomis got in behind full-back Natalia Ariza and calmly chipped the advancing Sepulveda.
Striker Melissa Tancredi claimed a double as Canada came from behind to snatch a precious 2-2 Group F draw with Sweden.
John Herdman's side trailed 2-0 to goals from Marie Hammarstrom and SofiaJakobsson as the Swedes got off to a flying start.
But Tancredi reduced the deficit before the break and then claimed a later equaliserto ensure that both teams go through to the last eight.
New Zealand reached the quarter-finals after overcoming bottom-placed Cameroon 3-1 in Group E.

London Olympics: Preview: Magnussen among those going for gold

James Magnussen will get a chance to make up for the disappointment of missing out on a relay medal by winning gold in the men’s 100m Freestyle at the Aquatics Centre on Day 5 of London 2012.

Magnussen was a member of the Australia quartet that was strongly fancied to win the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay final on Sunday night, but the they finished in fourth place.
It was France who claimed relay gold at the weekend as Yannick Agnel flew past American Ryan Lochte on the final leg and 21-year-old world champion Magnussen will again have to try and get the better of Agnel.
Agnel will be eyeing a third gold medal of the Games after winning the 200m Freestyle on Monday night and American Nathan Adrian is also a threat, while Daniel Gyurta looks like the man to beat in the 200m Breaststroke final as he bids for his first Olympic gold medal.
China’s Jiao Liuyang will be aiming to go one better than her silver medal at Beijing 2008 when she lines up in the final of the women’s 200m Butterfly.
The USA’s Kathleen Hersey will have something to say about that and Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi is also expected to contest a place on the podium, while USA are the favourites to claim gold in the women's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay.
After near misses in Cycling, Diving and Equestrian, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning have the opportunity to deliver Great Britain their first gold medal of the Games in the Rowing women’s Pair.
The home favourites are the crew to beat after recording three World Cup victories in 2012 and winning their heat in an Olympic best time.
Britain carry gold medal aspirations into the final of the men's eight too, although Germany are the crew to aim for having not lost a race in four years.
Bradley Wiggins hopes to carry his Tour de France-winning form into the men’s Cycling Time Trial and in the women’s version of the Time Trial, fellow Team GB rider Lizzie Armitstead will aim to win a medal after her impressive ride to claim silver in the Road Race on Sunday.
The final of the men’s Individual All-Around Artistic Gymnastics competition sees Japan’s Kohei Uchimura aim to add the Olympic title to the three consecutive gold medals he has won in the event at the World Championships.
More gold medals are also up for grabs in the Canoe Slalom, Diving, Fencing, Judo, Shooting, Table Tennis and Weightlifting, while the men’s Super Heavy Weight Boxing competition starts and there is the last round of group games in men’s Football.
Another point of interest comes in the Hockey, where Australia forward and five-time world World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer embarks on his bid to become his country's all-time leading scorer against Spain - this after taking his tally to 179 goals with his hat-trick against South Africa.