Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Floods and Presidential press and photo opportunities!

The Philippine Daily Inquirer writes an op ed Sodden welcome about the La Nina enhanced Easterlies that have been wrecking havoc on the eastern seaboards of the region even into Australia. Queensland, Australia is now experiencing floods which its non-believer Prime Minister Julia Gillard described as of "biblical proportions" Gillard has personally seen the disaster which now has shut down Brisbane. While the Sydneysiders and Melburnians are hundreds of kilometres from the flood zone, all my mates from those cities don't think they won't get flooded. They are concerned.

The PDI complains that the Manila-centric Noynoy administration has not shown the requisite urgency in dealing with the matter. Mr Noynoy Aquino has yet to set foot or fly over flood stricken Southern Leyte or even in nearer Albay. If he had, the press didn't get wind of it and neither have we seen the press photos.

Mrs Arroyo steps into a disaster zone, I think it is Malacanang Palace! From MLQIII's blog
Now this is a tad unusual of any chief executive. All Philippine Presidents from Quezon to Arroyo have had a photo op in a disaster zone. President Jose P Laurel was photographed by the Japanese propaganda apparatus giving relief during the great November 1943 baha that sank Manila. The Great Apo Ferdinand and the Imeldific were always seen in a disaster zone. One pic had the Imeldific on a rubber boat while the Apo was overhead in a PAF jet (when PAF still had those assets!) assessing flooded Central Luzon.

Even the Icon of Democracy, Mrs Cory Aquino was photographed in her trademark yellow raincoat (plus umbrella and rubber boots) visiting a storm damaged province! Nothing can beat FVR in wading into the flood. Erap too had his disaster photo opportunity moment and the Gloria of course had many disasters of her and Mother Nature's making and she exploited all that for its publicity worth.

What about the Noy? I am a bit anNoyed that we haven't seen him yet in a yellow raincoat! We know that Mr Aquino is trying to paint a more low key image but I think by not showing up wet is overdoing the low key bit.

Nonetheless, people will think Mr Noynoy Aquino will only wake up to the reality of flooding when his Bahay ng Pangarap bachelor's quarters sinks and his bed floats into the Pasig! This isn't a joke. With these heavy rains in Australia and the eastern side of Asia, we can expect another Ondoy deluge when the Habagat and typhoon induced rains come to our western side of the Philippines. However we pray God forbid. But it isn't a sin to be forewarned and prepared.

I'd like to know if PAGASA really forecasted the amount of rainfall that fell on these eastern areas. Of course we are not asking for the exact forecast in tens of millimeters but a rough idea. So far I know not of an estimate. And this is an area for more climatological research. PAGASA still relies on the more than a century old Coronas Classification of Philippine climate. Given that the climate has changed, we need a more accurate and finer climate classification system that can help us plan for weather related disasters.

So far no head has rolled in PAGASA like when Prisco Nilo erred on his typhoon track. But will the President lop off another head if the rains flood his bachelor's pad?

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