MANILA, Philippines – With thousands of people stranded due to almost neck-deep floodwater in Cagayan de Oro City, some residents became good samaritans to help their fellow Cagayanons in need.
At the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTSP), formerly known as the Mindanao University of Science and Technology (MUST), around 300 to 500 students and faculty were stranded, according to communications professor Nef Luczon.
Luczon added that flood waters started to rise rapidly at around 4:00 pm on Monday, January 16.
Instead of heading home, Luczon decided to stay behind and help find food for students trapped in the different buildings on campus.
Luczon said that the situation inside the buildings is tense, with students anxious to get home any way they can.
“I told them: ‘Do not be worried, just be patient.’ Some are anxious, because brownout din. some buildings (are now) run by generators.”
Power has been restored before dawn Tuesday.
He made an appeal on social media for students to donate food and other needs, which he hand-carried through the flood waters to deliver them to the trapped students.
“I’ve been asking students to solicit food, while waiting for the rescuers to come. Luckily merong nag-respond (some responded),” Luczon told Rappler over the phone.
Flood waters began to recede as of 12:50 am Tuesday, January 17. Around 4 rescue responders arrived on site to bring additional food and evacuate some students, said Luczon.
Meanwhile, other residents and establishments of Cagayan de Oro have opened their schools, offices, and homes to people stranded on the road or on the street.
Xavier University in the downtown area opened its canteen, some of its classrooms, and its covered courts.
Centrio Ayala Mall, SM, and Limketkai Mall are open for shelter, although many of their restaurants are closed.
“The Space” at the corner of Tomas Saco and 15th Nazareth, is opening their establishment for free to serve as a refuge.
Hi-Way 43, a cafe, is also open to motorists and pedestrians trapped by floods. Cafe owner Churchill Aguilar posted on Facebook that they were only 3 people, but “we have enough provisions of water for those stuck on the road.”
The city council declared Cagayan de Oro under state of calamity before dawn Tuesday, January 17, after the streets were submerged in neck-deep floods triggered by the nonstop rains Monday afternoon. – With a report from Stephen Pedroza/Rappler.com