State of Calamity


I write this as the last days of winter in this part of the world drenches the garden.  It is barely audible, this rain.  The cooling fan in this computer I use to write this random thought gives a predictable buzz.

Back to the country of my birth there is massive flooding.  The last I heard from my family, by sms text message, was at 1 AM their side.  They said the water was finally slowly subsiding.  No other word since.

They had been stuck on the second floor of the house since noontime.  Rain from a passing typhoon was the heaviest in decades, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.  Within six hours only the roofs of single-storey houses were visible.

As I write this it is an hour before dawn there.  I am thinking of my mother, over seventy, her two grandchildren holed up with my sister and her husband, along with two other families who had sought refuge with them.

For hours I had been frantically trying to get through to the various rescue teams, and so far no success.

The most recent report I gathered online mentions 46 deaths due to the floods.

It is nearly time for me to go to sleep in my comfortable bed with an electric blanket. The cruelty of this distance is nothing compared to the grim situation back home.

I wait for the next message, hoping the batteries on their cellphones don’t fail before someone rescues them.  I dare not phone in case they have somehow found a way to sleep through the fear, even as the rain continues to come down in dark sheets.

News article from GMANews

News article from Al Jazeera

Video footage from Al Jazeera

About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his latest poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. View all posts by matangmanok

7 responses to “State of Calamity

  • Jie-Shi

    Damn, I don’t know what to say, but my thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Michael

    Safe journeys, my friend, as you travel home to help.

  • ecko

    Ditto. My thoughts go with you and yours 🙂

  • Secretlee


    Its me, barging in again, gosh jim I do hope you and your family are ok. You have my email address now through this site? If not, I dont know how to find other posts, I dont have any contacts, I’m trying to find everyone … like you but in a different way.

    Can you delete posts? If I wrote my email here would you delete it? Am I an idiot? Do you have electricity? Can you find me? oh … dear…. what a mess…

    Hope to hear from you soon, much love for you and the family.

    Secretlee xxx

  • Secretlee

    And please… drop me an email if there is anything at all I can do. x

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