Typhoon Sendong: Deadliest Typhoon To Date

March 6, 2012 | by Pepper

During the early hours of December 17, 2011, tropical storm “Sendong” (international nameWashi) struck Cagayan de Oro City, as well as neighboring cities in the southern Philippines, catching most of its sleeping inhabitants completely off guard.

What would have been a merry Christmas for most families turned into heartbreak and longing for dead or missing loved ones.

Filipinos are no strangers to typhoons. However, at the height of Sendong’s fury, the combination of unusually high rainfall volume and strong tide waters, brought about a destructive onslaught of storm-water running down from mountain areas denuded by illegal logging. In the dead of the night, Sendong created a deadly flash flood that no one was prepared for.

Sendong’s chilling aftermath – Cagayan River, before & after.  Photo from Pinoy Tumblr.Rampaging waters from Cagayan de Oro River swept away an entire community.

Reports estimate the total damage to agricultural crops, infrastructures, and properties at $23million, with the number of people dead or missing pegged at 1,259. This does not include the more than 60,000 left homeless by the floods.

Despite the tragedy, it is heartwarming to know that in the face of trying times, we are able to witness the best out of Filipinos. Less than an hour after news of the tragedy broke, an outpouring of medical aid and relief goods from neighboring cities came right away, along with volunteer groups who helped in the search and rescue operations.

Even the Pepper team in Davao (about 200 miles from the affected area) contributed to the relief efforts in their own way – donating food, clothing and blankets to survivors staying in evacuation areas.

Barely two months have passed since the tragedy struck.  While relief efforts have mostly ceased, the process of rebuilding the affected areas is ongoing and is far from complete; in fact, the government projects that it will take three years to fully rehabilitate Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, the two cities worst hit by Sendong).

The good news is that many local and international organizations continue to work with the local and national government to help get CDO and Iligan back on its feet.   Among them are Shelter Box and Rotary International, who are raising funds and inviting volunteers to set up “tent cities”—temporary shelters for residents displaced by the floods and who have yet to be relocated to new homes.

Today, various groups continue to welcome donations in cash or in kind. If you live abroad, you can donate to Shelter Box and Rotary International online, or through the links listed on the Philippine Red Cross’s website.

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15 thoughts on “Typhoon Sendong: Deadliest Typhoon To Date

  1. Lester Maquinano

    Typhoon “Sendong” was really a surprise for Northern Mindanao. Growing up in the region and being used to having heavy downpours throughout the year (and still live normal) made us believed that Northern Mindanao is a typhoon-free area and can never be devastated with such wrath of nature until the typhoon came. Guess that nature really is changing and we may never know what/when it will strike us down. For the victims of the typhoon, I hope they can all recover from the aftermath and may continue to live their lives being more vigilant and more prepared. People and institutions from all over the country should continue their support in whatever kinds they could offer so that we as fellow Filipinos could assist on the healing process of the victims. For those kind-hearted individuals and institutions that still wanted to help and does not have the proper venue to do so, they can always ask more information from the people who are connected with the rehabilitation processes.

    Reply
  2. Keshia Cazar

    As far as I know the typhoon “Sendong” was the most tragic that the Mindanao experience. Many lives were lost without them knowing that was their last day on earth. Many people were surprised about the damaged that caused of this typhoon. Personally I saw their situations, me and my church mates went to Cagayan and delivered reliefs for the people their. I witness how desperate the people seeking for comfortable shelter, food to be eaten and a potable water to drink. Hence, the government in Cagayan and other non-government organizations immediately provide a temporary shelter for them to stay like basketball gym and the tents that they are building. Foods are not really a problem because they are very abundant with foods given by different sectoral groups. A water delivered by fire trucks was not enough for them, let us have a kind-hearted to help the government ways in finding solutions for this problem. But the most hurtful scene I saw was family members who were distressed to see their family member who are still missing and hoping that they are still alive. Let us help pray for the souls and for the family members who are left that they could find peace in their hearts and our Almighty God comfort them, and they will still continue to hope for a better tomorrow.
    Let us all be conscious in our environment. Let us be responsible for saving mother earth. Let be this be lesson to all of us we don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

    Reply
  3. rusianajane@yahoo.com

    Blog one of the useable networking sites today. For teenager and elder people.People can share their feelings and sentiments to different people around the globe. Current issues yesterday, tomorrow and preferably in the future issues can be address in local, national, international and worldwide. Networking allows people to be more and well informed about the current issues today and networking allows people to do a manageable task.

    In typhoon sendong, although I did not experienced the typhoon but I felt the sentiments and pain of the victims when I was there to volunteer for relief operations. The city was really devastated by the flood, the Cagayan City was known to be the horror city after the typhoon strike. But now, when we returned last May of 2012 I am glad to see that the city was recovering and the community people really helped each other to bring the city alive again.Let’s pray for the continuous recovery of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro city.

    Reply
  4. Armie Alicaway

    As a fellow “Mindanawon” and having a sister who is living in that place, I was at grief when that great devastation happened in Cagayan de Oro. I can still remember how I felt that day when I knew about what happened. I immediately checked on my nephews and asked them if they were OK. They said they were in the evacuation area provided by the local government with nothing but the ones they’re wearing. That was really a pity. I was then working in a call center when that happened so when our company asked if we could extend some help to the victims, I really cried.I was personally very thankful. And again, I saw how Filipinos showed the ” Bayanihan” spirit with the overflowing help that was extended by people all over the country to the victims of the flood. Never did it come to me that it could happen to a place like Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. I mean, not in Mindanao which we all know is not well visited by typhoons unlike Visayas and Luzon. People were able to create different reasons of why that thing happened but what I say is, we should focus more on how we could help in the recovery of the victims of the typhoon. I heard that up to this time people are still in the place they call “tent city”. I wish government could check on them and probably think of a permanent solution,a housing project I guess and financial assistance so that these people could go back to their normal lives once again, and be able to forget that tragic period that has brought them to a worldwide news. God bless that place.

    Reply
  5. Ahlia Mamangkao

    As a fellow “Mindanawon” and having a sister who is living in that place, I was at grief when that great devastation happened in Cagayan de Oro. I can still remember how I felt that day when I knew about what happened. I immediately checked on my nephews and asked them if they were OK. They said they were in the evacuation area provided by the local government with nothing but the ones they’re wearing. That was really a pity. I was then working in a call center when that happened so when our company asked if we could extend some help to the victims, I really cried.I was personally very thankful. And again, I saw how Filipinos showed the ” Bayanihan” spirit with the overflowing help that was extended by people all over the country to the victims of the flood. Never did it come to me that it could happen to a place like Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. I mean, not in Mindanao which we all know is not well visited by typhoons unlike Visayas and Luzon. People were able to create different reasons of why that thing happened but what I say is, we should focus more on how we could help in the recovery of the victims of the typhoon. I heard that up to this time people are still in the place they call “tent city”. I wish government could check on them and probably think of a permanent solution,a housing project I guess and financial assistance so that these people could go back to their normal lives once again, and be able to forget that tragic period that has brought them to a worldwide news. God bless that place.

    Reply
  6. Daniel Demi Muyco

    As fellow Filipino and Mindanawon it is disappointing event in CDO and Iligan City. No one is expecting this kind of tragic event. When I hear this bad news on the TV I felt sad and disappointed because the deadly flash flood happened during Christmas and that time people must happy and excited to the celebration and the gift that they will received. But unfortunately all those happy anticipation were not met. Definitely it is a nature phenomena that every human person could not stop it. As along there is severely destruction on our nature, more natural calamities will come and will destroy people lives. As for the people of CDO and Iligan City, what they must do is to take care all the nature that were given to them as well as other people who lives in a flourishing lands. The second that i felt was realization if I am the one in their places. I said to my self that I am lucky but I didn’t meant it just for my self but I realized that people who are affected on that kind of calamity, they must prepare themselves for this kind of calamity. I guess people now in Iligan City and CDO are now recovering from the destructive calamity. And it is nice to see people who are heartfully helping the victims whether there are physically helping but spiritually helping via prayers and donations.

    Reply
  7. Jeslane Mae Javier

    What happened in Cagayan De Oro was really a tragedy. Typhoon Sendong was on it’s huge attack that merely struck the beautiful place of Cagayan and Iligan. It’s sad to know that many lives were lost and many families are very much affected. The weather condition nowadays is really hard to predict. Today will be a good day then tomorrow will be another misery, we’ll never know. But since we are aware that many possibilities might come across, we should always be prepared especially that we are only steps ahead of any dangers. We must be responsible enough of ourselves that our lives depends on us. It’s not other people’s fault, but will always be us. I know that people from Cagayan de Oro and Iligan find it hard to recover from the situation and it will be a great idea if people who are kind and generous enough to help will be on their side. We must continue to pray that our nation will not suffer any further tragic conditions that can lead to letting people worry too much or suffer a lot. Any one of us can help them, lets just pray and let them know that we are with them especially in this crisis that they are having.

    Reply
  8. Noelle Buenaflor

    Upon hearing the news of what typhoon Sendong has done to our brothers and sisters in Cagayan de Oro, we all have to admit that it delivered pangs of pain in our human hearts. If not, I guess that the goosebumps managed to get your attention first. Being a citizen of the Philippines and living in a city close to where the tragedy has struck, we all feared for our lives and for our loved ones who may have been included in the tragedy. Surely, the shock that came was something we cannot avoid easily. What used to be a peaceful city, a welcoming place and an industrialized one so to speak, has now become a graveyard full of people’s lives, hopes and dreams. But amidst this calamity, what I am truly thankful for is that it gave way to the camaraderie that most of us people would never have come to experience. I was still studying then when the tragedy happened. In the hustle and bustle of college life, we all paused from our activities and took a moment to pray for those who were in need. To the families who have lost someone they loved, to the kids who lost their dogs, to a mother who has lost her child or even a jobless person, who lost a home. Everyone lost something or someone they valued but the countless prayers and the incalculable love they have received, made them strong little by little, bit by bit. Donations were made here and there, rescue missions were organized and implemented, if the Philippines was not that strong of a nation, who would do this for them? We may be a third world nation, but in times of need and despair, who would help ourselves? If you have come up to the realization, the answer is us. We only have ourselves to trust and run to. I know now why our country has been dubbed as hospitable, it is with our bond as citizens of the country we so love that we have been connected together and made us as one. For us who have not been affected by the disaster, always take time to say a silent prayer as you wake for others are already having their last breath. Be thankful for what you have and learn to share this to others. With the words of my Alma Mater, let us all be men and women for others. 🙂

    Reply
  9. Roy Joseph D. Fernando

    What was happened in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City was tantamount to tragic disaster. Sendong’s wrath brought heavy rainfall, flash floods and high tides of water that nearly devastate or wipe the entire city and even it affects the neighboring cities. Upon hearing the news of what had happened to our fellow brothers and sisters in the Northern Mindanao, i felt gloomy and I know for fact that whoever read or hear of that tragic event will be experiencing shock and disbelief. Tropical storms and Typhoons are not new to us, for Filipinos but this tragic event encompasses beyond our expectations. Who would have thought thousands lives will we taken and millions of properties or infrastructures will be wasted in just short period of time. It pains me in the heart and i couldn’t even imagine those people who lost their love ones or even everything at an instant. I was just a college student when that tragic event happened. And after hearing the sad news it seems that the whole university stop and pray for the souls who have departed. We, fellow Filipinos, our heart beats as one. It nice to see that many people with good heart able to help those victims of the typhoon. In an instant various activities have been initiated in order to help the victims of typhoons. Relief operations, donations were gathered. Search and rescue operations started. That tragic event serves as an eye opener for us. We must learn to value and appreciate on what we have. We must also learn to protect and nurture it. And most especially we must be ready at all times, cause we do not if it will happen again, we don’t to repeat the history brought by the wrath of Sendong.

    Reply
  10. diane gaanan

    This was really a heart breaking incident not just for me but to the whole Philippines. I am from Mindanao as well, Davao City to be exact. I have never been to Cagayan de Oro even if it’s just a few hours drive from Davao City. But I have friends who are from there,as a matter of fact one of my best friend’s lives in that City. Also,I have heard a lot of good things about the place. The famous white water rafting which is their main attraction tops my list of reasons on why I want to visit that place. Last December while watching the news, I noticed that most of the topics was about a City hit by a typhoon.At that time, I wasn’t aware yet that it was at Cagayan de Oro City. When I found out, I was unconsciously crying. The reason why tears fell from my eyes was because seeing people most especially the elderly and the little children suffer. Many were also dead and missing. And in a few days it will be Christmas already. People were supposed to be excited and looking forward to that occasion, but how can they be when that tragedy came. I was also thinking that what if “Sendong” had hit Davao City? I couldn’t imagine how it would be. My family are mostly in Davao, my friends as well. As I can remember, that was really a sad and disheartening day for me. I offered prayers for those families affected. I received an sms from my mother that they have sent used clothing’s for the victims. Thank you also to the Government officials and individuals who extended their help. On those times, which was really hard, prayers and comfort are that best that we can offer. I hope and pray that to this date, everyone who had been a victim are slowly having their regular lives back.

    Reply
  11. Joanne reyes

    It was December 2011. Me and my family were preparing for a vacation. We were so excited and packed the things that we needed. When the news came up it was so heart breaking, and all of a sudden, I felt so sad and disappointed. Many of our fellow mindanawon was suffered to this tragic disaster. Innocent people and children were victims and homeless. How can we celebrate Merry Christmas if our fellow mindanawon suffered from this disaster? But then many of our government officials, media, celebrities and even ordinary people volunteered hand-on-hand to help our fellow Filipino. Also, me and my family decided to donate old clothes and give it to the victims. At least we can put smiles in there faces on Christmas day. As the day goes by, at least the people are trying to cope up with the trials that God gave us. I hope that this will be the end and no one will take lives because of the tragic disaster.

    Reply
  12. jayvee cabatingan

    This was really a devastating typhoon and it happens in December, the month of celebration for the birth of our Lord. I really felt sad for them because Christmas was so near and their month of celebration and happiness became an instant nightmare. In the news many people were dead and some were still missing. In our school, when I was a student, we collected money, old clothes, and foods for the victims of the typhoon. I also like to highlight that the government of Davao is also helping the victims without using the situation as promotion for their names but instead using “People of Davao.” This is a correct move because it’s the money of Davao they used in the operation. In the end, i hope that this incident will be a lesson for all to take good care of our environment and discipline ourselves to throw garbage properly and promote the 3R’s which are the Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce.

    Reply
  13. Morny Bernie Bolcan

    As a volunteer, I was part of the team to be sent there last January 2012 to be part of the Sendong Operations. I witnessed firsthand some parts of the destruction that the Typhoon has left in its wake. Although I wasn’t able to see all of the damage since it was already January and the bad part of the damages were already cleared, I was able to see the worst part of it: the emotional and economical damages to the people of Cagayan de Oro. I wasn’t able to go to Iligan City, but fellow volunteers have said the same thing. It was hard looking at them with the cramped up evacuation centers, the long lines for relief goods, and the obvious physical damages to the city itself. The only feeling of relief I had was when I saw how the people of the country has shown it’s support for the recovery of those affected. It truly was evident how the Filipinos will always be there for fellow Filipinos.

    In light of this, I would like to share some knowledge that I impart whenever I get the chance. Disasters knows no bounds. It can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime. The best thing to do here is basically what the country focuses right now in regards to Disaster Risk Reduction and Management: Prevention, Mitigation, and Preparedness.

    But first off, let’s define Hazards, Vulnerable, and Disaster. Hazards are anything that pose a threat to persons, environment, and infrastructure. As little as a protruding nail on a wall is already a hazard that poses a threat to persons. And to larger kinds of hazards, includes Typhoons, Earthquakes, and many others pose a threat to anything or anyone that comes into its path. These hazards, combined with the vulnerable(people, structures, environment) are what composes a Disaster. Hazards x Vulnerable = Disaster.

    So to define Prevention, it is basically what the word suggests, to prevent any hazards or disasters from happening. How do we do this? We have our usual tree planting(preventing flood and landslides), warnings(preventing the vulnerable to be in the way of hazards), and hazard hunting/mapping (by knowing what kind of hazards that surround the community makes us act to prevent such from happening).

    Mitigation is lessening the impact of the disaster. If any disaster strikes, doing mitigation measures makes it less hard for us. Examples would be river dikes(making it less likely to overflow), sea walls(so the raging sea makes less damage than it could have), and again the tree planting(to take in and lessen CO2, a greenhouse gas that causes Climate Change).

    And so finally, Preparedness. Preparedness measures include information dissemination and trainings (so that we know what to do when disaster strikes), and making everything into action(not just words).

    There are still a lot of measures that we can do here as the people of the community. We just need to be proactive about it.

    Hopefully I have shared a lot with you, and just remember that the likelihood of disasters depend on US.

    Reply
  14. Pingback: Before and After the Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro City « charlegne

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