Editorial – Enacting a Flood Code could Save 100 million Filipinos
Andreas Klippe Comments August 19, 2021
Floods and fires are both headaches in the Philippines.
The data from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) showed that the number of fire incidents from January 1 to December 11, 2019 was 16,382. From those, a total of 330 people died.
In the same year, Tropical Cyclone Ursula (international name: Phanfone) hit the country. It affected 2,431,821 individuals, destroyed 406,000 houses, injured 362 people, and killed 50 lives. Then, the overall cost of flood damage was worth ₱3,435,725,790.
While 16,382 fire incidents caused damage to many properties in 2019, only ONE tropical cyclone induced greater damage. Imagine, billions worth of property damaged with just ONE tropical cyclone! What do you think could have happened if there were 16,382 tropical cyclones that would pummel the country? It will probably be the end of this age.
In 2020, two strong tropical cyclones, Rolly (international name: Goni) and Ulysses (international name: Vamco), also caused destruction in the country. Rolly affected 2.1 million people, destroyed 183,000 houses, and damaged 103.7 million worth of agricultural products. Ulysses, on the other hand, affected 879,000 people and damaged 20.1 million worth of agricultural products.
Considering these data, why isn’t there a Flood Code? The Philippines only has the “Fire Code of the Philippines of 2008” that requires fire protection of buildings. But why isn’t there a Code that requires flood protection?
If There Were a Flood Code in the Philippines
It is important that there should also be a Flood Code especially now that climate change is worsening.
If there were a Flood Code, the following could be included to make sure that buildings are flood-protected.
This committee would administer and supervise; it could be the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) or another group of authorized people. Moreover, the committee could be headed by the Chief Flood Marshall who would be responsible for ensuring public safety through the prevention of all destructive flooding situations.
To ensure the protection of our buildings from floods, experts could check the situations of these buildings and their surroundings. Here are the things they could do for the inspection, in no particular order:
- Inspect the electrical supply and all electrical lines within the facility.
- Check the condition of every evacuation center within the area.
- Inspect the building’s foundation.
- Inspect the roof of each building and check if any leaks could occur.
- Check the wall of each building for any water ingress.
- Inspect the perimeter walls within the vicinity, check if the walls are sturdy as water pressure may damage them.
- Check the drainage system of the facility.
- Inspect the sewage system of the facility as these could cause serious health risks.
- Inspect if any backflow could occur.
- Check the current flood protection system of the building.
3- Flood Protection System
After experts have inspected buildings, they would propose solutions.
It’s only right to require a flood protection system (e.g., flood barriers, well-oiled drainage systems) in buildings. However, it should be designed to resist high water pressure and corrosion, and to stand against the effects of the worsening climate change. Above all, it should be made to flood-protect for a long time.
4- Flood Drill
Lastly, there could be a Flood Drill that building occupants will follow to prepare themselves for the actual flooding. They should repeat it annually, like an earthquake drill.
A Flood Code Should Be Enacted
Floods, like fires, are also headaches.
Destructive flooding caused by tropical storms has always been a nightmare for many. Furthermore, with the worsening climate change, expect that typhoons will be worse. But with this Flood Code, people will certainly be more prepared for future flooding disasters. More properties can be saved, more lives can be spared.
Almost 95 % of all buildings can be protected against flood damage.
Knowing this number, why don’t we take action?
…or neglect sudden floods. Continue year after year to spend your precious lifetime and hard-earned money to compensate for the flood damage on your building, cars, and inventory.
For the greater good of more than 100 million Filipinos, it is of great gravity that a Flood Code should be enacted.