SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY (SU) suspended work and classes from pre-elementary to the tertiary level last Jan. 17 to 18 due to a low pressure area and a tail-end of a cold front that hit Visayas and Mindanao.
Heavy rain started to pour down last Jan. 16 which caused floods in low-lying areas of the city and neighboring towns.
According to Edgar Ygnalaga Jr., officer-in-charge of the Public Assistance and Security Office, the heavy rain did not cause any damage to the campus, but the volunteer rescue unit of the university stayed on call.
“Our drains are maintained regularly. The campus had no problems. …unlike last time when Sendong hit the city,” Ygnalaga said.
On the other hand, some SU students and faculty and staff were affected by the rising water levels in their houses.
Julien Marie Piñero, a junior mass communication student and a resident of Valencia, had a hard time traveling to school because of the downpour.
“[It] really affected me and family, especially [because] we have to cross bridges…our car could not cross due to the heavy flood,” Piñero said.
Piñero added that a lot of people were digging in the pile of garbage that accumulated during the flood, and she saw mostly plastic.
“It’s sad that people only do something when the problem is already there. I hope that we learn from the past tragedies. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure,” Piñero said.
Garbage build-up in drainages is also blamed for the flooding in Cagayan de Oro. The city was put into a state of calamity after rising water levels left people stranded.
Sillimanians who had families in that city grew worried for their loved ones.
Jullan Joyce Igot, a junior mass communication student from Cagayan de Oro, said that her family “cannot help but get paranoid” after their city was also flooded last 2011.
“My brother was left stranded in his school until dawn with my dad. My cousins who came from a check- up were forced to stay at a hotel overnight. The mall, Lim Ket Kai, where my cousins went was flooded and they couldn’t go home for two days. Our neighbors stayed at our house for a few hours because their house was already flooded,” Igot said.
As a private institution, SU waited for orders from the disaster management office of the government for relief operations but there was not any, according to Ygnalaga.
*with notes from sunstar.com.ph