How centuries-old UST copes with modern-day flood woesBy Erika Sauler
Philippine Daily Inquirer
For decades, the oldest university in Asia has endured the unenviable fate of being situated in one of the most flood-prone areas in Manila.
During flash floods, hundreds of students at the University of Santo Tomas are often forced to spend the night in their classrooms until the waters subside the next day.
But in recent years, a system that may be peculiar to UST has been in place to make the experience a little more bearable. It was again put to use on Monday when over 1,500 students were prevented from leaving their buildings by the rising floodwaters on and around the 21.5-hectare campus, particularly on España Boulevard.
A bus went around topick up stranded students from the different colleges, so they could be gathered in one or two areas that serve as evacuation centers, where they are provided meals courtesy of the university.
Around 500 students stayed in the College of Accountancy building, where they were given fast food for dinner, and ensaymada, canned tuna and cup noodles for breakfast, the Inquirer learned.
Hundreds more stayed in Tan Yan Kee Student Center, the Arts & Letters Building and the Quadricentennial Pavilion. At one point, the “Q Pav” got overcrowded that the evacuations to that area had to be stopped.
This was after heavy rains triggered thigh-deep floods on España. Inside the campus, the water was ankle-deep on the first floor of the UST Hospital.
The situation led to the suspension of Tuesday’s classes.
The UST now has a Crisis Management Office for dealing with perennial flooding on campus. “We have a protocol in times like these to bring students to the Tan Yan Kee Student Center,” said Central Student Council vice president Argee Gonzales in an Inquirer interview.
There are also two rubber boats and a military truck on standby, according to an online article in the UST publication The Varsitarian.
College deans and university officials are also given two-way radios to keep lines of communication open during these calamities.