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Water, water everywhere – but nothing to drink in Manila

Oct 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Featured Article, Front Page Layout, News

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MANILA under water - ABC PICTURE

“Water, water everywhere, but not enough to drink” is how Ana Maranon describes the situation in her hometown after a typhoon left 80% flooded.

She used the reference to Coleridge’s famous poem, the Ancient Mariner, in an email to Whitireia Community Polytechnic Dean of Arts, Kaye Jujnovich, who met Ana during a business trip to Manila.

“We were one of the lucky 20%,” says Ana of the damage done by Typhoon Ketsana, which killed at least 60  people when it struck Philippines’ capital Manila last weekend.

“Where we live, the developers built up the surrounding land with earthfill so our basement parking actually sits 10 feet above street level.”

In some “really posh” villages, water levels reached the third floor of houses, says Ana, marketing director at Uniwide Technical Services Inc.

“People were waiting for rescue on the rooftops of their homes – rich and poor – and the flood spared no one.”

Ketsana, which  started off as a storm, developed into a devastating typhoon that killed at least 331 across south-east Asia.

Kaye Jujnovich, who has been promoting New Zealand and Whitireia in the Philippines for the last few years and is good friends with Ana, says emails have been going backwards and forwards between them.

In one email Ana wrote: “Bodies are still being found and people go panic-shopping at the grocery stores.”

Some of her  friends have lost everything in their homes and some of her family had to evacuate. She is trying to get as much support for her community as possible.

The Filipino word “Bayanihan” (which she translates loosely as “reaching out” or “helping hands”) describes the spirit amongst the people in Manila possibly best, she says.

Neighbours give each other shelter, fast food chains hand out free food, and office workers walk around to collect donations.

A school owner in Pasig, teacher Auchee, has opened the school as a donation drop-off centre for goods that will be distributed directly to communities still under mud and water.

“Perhaps this can also be our nation’s finest hour, as everyone – rich or poor, young or old – do their own little bit to help.”

She does not know yet that her friend Kaye is trying her best to support the community as well:

“My idea is to get our international manager, Greg, to take funds (of US$750) over to Miriam College,” she says.

“He leaves for the region tomorrow and will be in Manila by mid-October. $750 is not a large sum, but it is enough to buy rice, clean water, etc. for a few, which is what the ‘poor’ need right now.”

Miriam College is a catholic women’s college that was in the pathway of the typhoon and is closed at the moment.

Staff and students from Miriam have been to Whitireia before and Kaye is confident the school will do the best with the money.

Kaye also plans to raffle a “wonderful life drawing”, donated by Rudy Whitehouse-Lopez (Head of Visiual Arts), at Whitireia’s Jewellery Auction .

For pictures of the typhoon, CLICK HERE>

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is a graduate from Whitireia Journalism School, now working for a rock magazine in London.
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