Provident Village is an upscale residential subdivision in Marikina City that is one of the most devastated by flooding due to Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name: Ketsana). If you look at the satellite thumbnail image, it’s easy to see why. Provident Village is located right at the corner of one of the two major zigzag bends of the Marikina River, which is that dark curve at the bottom. The village is just a few meters above the normal water level of the river and it definitely is no match for the record rainfall that Ondoy brought. Most one-story houses became submerged under the quickly-rising flood waters and residents were forced to seek shelter on the roofs of their neighbors who have two-story houses.
One of these residents is my friend Ed Garcia. He is a diving and GPS enthusiast who runs WaypointsDotPH, the largest Filipino repository of GPS waypoints, and his site is one of my major sources of research for Vista Pinas. His family lives in a bungalow and he sent word yesterday that he and his family are thankfully safe though their house got completely submerged in the flood and damaged all their belongings.
I hope all of you are safe and if you wish to help out the victims (if you haven’t already done so), the easiest way is by SMS. Just send “RED (space) (amount in pesos)” to 2899 for Globe and 4483 for Smart. Valid amounts are 5, 25, 50, 100 and 300 and each text will be charged 1 peso. The donation will be sent directly to the Philippine National Red Cross. I guess the donation is charged against your line credit or prepaid load.
For those abroad who have PayPal accounts, the easiest way is to send it through the NGO TXTPower (an SMS consumer-rights group). All proceeds will be handed to the Red Cross too. As of yesterday, TXTPower managed to collect almost 100 thousand pesos and has reached more than half a million pesos now. You can also donate to the Red Cross directly if you prefer to avoid middlemen. And for other donation means, check out this Tumblr post by Manolo Quezon, which contains up-to-date information on ways to help.