Flash floods displace thousands-A A +A
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
CEBU CITY -- Thousands of families were evacuated to higher ground in some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao region on Tuesday after a day of non-stop rain caused rivers to swell and overflow and trigger flooding.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the rains were caused by the tail-end of cold front affecting Southern Luzon and Central Visayas and the low pressure area (LPA) in Mindanao.
Floods displaced hundreds of people, killed a mother and her daughter, and swept away a six-year-old boy in Cebu Province on Tuesday.
Heavy rains flooded several barangays in the towns of Tabogon, Consolacion, Balamban, Liloan, Carmen, Catmon, Sogod, and Minglanilla, and the cities of Danao, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Cebu, and Toledo.
More than 600 families were affected by the flood, authorities said.
“The cold front brings rain clouds and rain showers, but there is no storm,” said weather observer Pons Garcia.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, no LPA or typhoon was detected within Central Visayas.
In Barangay San Isidro in Tabogon town, Consina Monares, 78, and her daughter Norma Flores, 53, drowned in a flash flood around 8 a.m.
Police said Flores accompanied her mother, who was about to get her gift from the Municipal Government. They rode a motorcycle driven by Dexter Olpiano, Monares’s son-in-law.
When they reached the river, the women alighted from the motorcycle and waded in the water.
Olpiano continued driving his vehicle, but lost his balance and fell. He was briefly snagged by a banana trunk, before a sudden rush of water swept him away. What saved him was a tree branch that he managed to grab.
When he looked around, however, both women were gone.
Rescuers found Monares half a kilometer from the barangay, while her daughter Flores was later found in the seawaters off Barangay Camobo-an.
About 500 families in Consolacion town were displaced due to the flooding, Mayor Theresa Alegado said in a radio dyLA report.
Police Officer 2 Johnaskie Romero said five families, or about 20 persons, were evacuated from Barangay Cansaga after the river swelled Tuesday morning.
In Barangay Pitogo, 417 individuals or 97 families were transferred to chapels and day care centers. Barangay Laray was also hit by the flood.
Alegado said the town will declare a state of calamity to allow the use of emergency funds and will also seek assistance from the Capitol and Representative Luis Gabriel Quisumbing (6th district, Cebu).
At least 30 families were evacuated from Barangays Taytay and Looc in Danao City, said Police Officer 1 Wendell Jay Baritua.
In Balamban town, 50 families from Barangays Tunga and Buswang were transferred to the evacuation center after the Combado River swelled.
Nine families in Barangay Banilad in Mandaue City were transferred to safer ground.
Meanwhile, almost 1,000 families in Talisay City were affected by floods and the rising water level in the Mananga River.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development recorded four affected barangays, namely Dumlog, Poblacion, Cansojong, and San Roque.
In Northern Mindanao, at least 1,386 persons were rescued and evacuated to safer grounds when flood waters submerged some houses in nine villages of Valencia City, Bukidnon, on Tuesday.
The Valencia City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) said the flood was due to the continuous heavy rains since Monday afternoon.
The affected villages are Kahaponan, Batangan, San Isidro, Lumbo, Pinatilan, Katumbalon, Maapag, Lumbayao and Barangay Poblacion.
A dam of the National Irrigation Administration in Valencia was reportedly damaged, which further aggravated the strong flow of water.
The Pulangi River in Bukidnon also started to overflow at 7 a.m. due to the continuous heavy rains.
As of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, at least 336 families trapped in their rooftops due to ceiling-high floodwaters were rescued by volunteers from the 8th Infantry Battalion, 403rd Brigade, CDRRMC and the local government unit of Valencia City.
At least three Huey helicopters from the Philippine Air Force also airlifted about 104 persons trapped by floodwaters.
Valencia City Mayor Leandro Catarata said no casualty has been reported as of this posting.
Rains brought by the LPA spotted near Cotabato on Monday have also caused floodings in some parts of Davao Region on Tuesday.
The flood-hit areas include Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, displacing hundreds of families, mostly residing near swollen rivers.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the region reported that Saug River, which traverses some villages in Kapalong, Asuncion and New Corella, swelled on Tuesday morning affecting 48 families.
OCD also reported the provincial road connecting Asuncion town and Tagum City, particularly in Barangay Sagayen section, has remained impassable as of Tuesday afternoon.
The Provincial Information Office of Compostela Valley said some residents in Barangay Banagbanag, Montevista, were rescued by the PDRMMC disaster team as floodwaters reached roof-level.
Acting provincial information officer Ferdinand Zuasola of Davao Oriental also said 200 families in Barangay Matiao of Mati were evacuated Monday evening to higher grounds.
In some parts of Central, Eastern and Western Visayas, floodings occurred in low-lying villages, prompting evacuation of at least 2,770 families.
Five cities and one town in Negros Occidental, 13 towns in Leyte and some parts of Southern Leyte and Capiz were flooded.
At least 1,430 families were evacuated after houses were flooded in cities of Sagay, Silay, San Carlos, Talisay and Cadiz in Negros Occidental.
In Leyte, at least 774 families were evacuated in the towns of Palo, Abuyog, Dagami, Pastrana, Sta. Fe, Mayorga, Dulag and Julita. In Southern Leyte, 52 families in Saint Bernard town were displaced due to floodings.
Rains will continue in some parts of the Visayas due to effects of the tail-end of the cold front, the weather bureau said.
Pagasa earlier warned of rains in Visayas and Mindanao during the last week of the year.
Nathaniel Servando, Pagasa Administrator, said the LPA is expected to dissipate after interacting with the landmass.
"The northeast monsoon will bring light rains in Luzon while the wind convergence (meeting of northeast monsoon and winds coming from the Pacific Ocean) will bring light to moderate rainfall in Visayas and Mindanao. These are the dominant systems in the remaining week of 2011," Servando said. (Terry Betonio/PIA/Ben O. Tesiorna/Jean Abangan of Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Kevin A. Lagunda of Sun.Star Cebu/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 28, 2011.