Switching Channels

How the networks covered the floods of August

As torrential rains caused massive flooding in 80% of Metro Manila and large areas of nearby provinces, TV networks scrambled to air reports from affected areas throughout the day and much of the night.

TV Patrol's Noli de Castro anchored portions of the news from Marikina while Mel Tiangco of "24 Oras" did the news from Roxas District in Quezon City. For once, crime stories, politics and show biz intrigue did not dominate the newscasts.

Footage of the flooding illustrated just how bad the situation was. A landslide buried three houses and killed eight people who were trapped inside one of the structures. Four survivors were rushed to the hospital.

North and South Luzon Expressway were closed to traffic as the roads remained impassable.

Reporters waist-deep in floodwater

Thanks to network reporting, we saw the flooded ground floor of the UST hospital where the emergency room is located. Networks also aired the appeal of staff who  needed food and water later in the day because the nearby stores were closed.

We saw rescuers in rubber boats pluck residents from their rooftops. We knew some of them were volunteers, working long hours alongside those who did this for a living. We saw them bring in families to evacuation centers, most of which were located in public schools.

Reporters and cameramen heroically brought us these images, airing live from flooded areas in Manila and in provinces like Pampanga, Bataan, Laguna and Rizal. GMA's Joseph Morong waded in waist-deep water in Sta. Mesa while ABS-CBN's Jeff Canoy braved neck-deep waters in Malabon.

For the most part, the camera showed evacuees not looking depressed or hopeless. Victims seemed calm as they appealed for food and blankets. Still, I couldn't help but think of all those people competing for access to limited facilities like restrooms. Or of the risk of children getting sick because of the far-from-ideal conditions.

Crowd-sourced photos

Meanwhile, cameras also captured children using the flooded Lagusnilad as a swimming pool. And GMA featured a mass wedding that went on as planned because the couples refused to have the rains spoil spoil their special day.

Networks aired crowd-sourced photos of scenes from the flood. One showed a man carrying his pet dog on his back in an inundated area.

Later, we saw residents who refused to leave their houses earlier in the day change their minds as darkness set in. We also saw the dilemma faced by rescuers as they had to return to flooded areas with no electricity.

If the Pag-asa forecast of improved weather starting Thursday, Aug. 9, becomes a reality, then it won't be long before TV news networks begin airing reports on exactly what the floods left in their wake.

Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed.

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