Monday, September 28, 2009

No Ark Needed

Many of you may have heard about the flooding in the Manila area. (Click here for Fox News article.) Fortunately, we are not directly impacted by the situation there. Manila is a 12 hour drive from our mountain home in Bontoc. (22 hours or more when things don't go well. Click here for that story.)

Because of our location in the mountains, we are well protected from such storms. Manila is on the coast.

When a typhoon comes through we can tell because of the steady rain. Normally, our mornings are pleasant and in the mid-afternoon we get a heavy downpour for a couple hours. It is incredible how much rain can fall in such a short time. When a typhoon comes through, it rains continuously for a few days. Usually it is not the heavy, monsoon rains. Sometimes we will also get some wind with a typhoon; enough to wreak havoc on umbrellas but not destructive otherwise.

The other day we did have strong winds and heavy rain as this typhoon came through. We thought we would lose electricity, but fortunately did not. Even though we are spared the destruction of the flood they have in Manila, the prolonged heavy rain can cause us some problems.

The biggest concern is landslides. There are only a few options for getting into Bontoc. All of them are narrow, winding mountain roads with steep mountains on one side and steep valleys on the other. The rains can loosen the soil and completely bury or collapse the road. Sometimes, though rarely, people are injured or killed. When a slide blocks one of the roads, the vendors are not able to get fresh stock. It is not as if we have anything resembling a Super Wal-Mart to begin with. The options get thinner and the produce grows older until the road is again open and deliveries can be made. Obviously, any travel plans would be affected in the same way.

Another problem is with our water supply. The water is not safe to drink, but indoor plumbing is still greatly appreciated. When the rains get too heavy, the water coming from the tap can literally be mud. Saturday, Lisa started a load of clothes in the washer before breakfast. After breakfast, I started to wash dishes. I discovered that the water color was somewhere between strong tea and coffee. The bowl I was filling with water had a layer of dirt in it. When we looked in the washing machine, the clothes looked as if the girls had been playing in a sandbox with wet clothes on. Fortunately, it was a load of dark clothes. Soon afterward, the municipal water supply was shut off throughout the town. It did not make much difference because of the poor water quality, but we had not had municipal water available for three days prior.

I understand that sometimes the Chico river will flood it banks and even the flood control walls. Our landlord said that our courtyard has been under water before, but not to the level of the house. In the time we have been here, we have not seen the river so high that it was anywhere near overwhelming the flood walls.

I guess the summary is... we are safe from the typhoons you may hear about on the news. We may be inconvenienced, but we are not harmed.


1 comment:

  1. It was only a month earlier last year we were dealing with water encroaching our front door. I hope you don't have to deal with that...
    On the other hand, our water is very drinkable and to my knowledge has never had sentiment in it. We can't begin to claim any relative awareness of your situation; we just pray it improves.